Conjuring the magical sense of an autumnal orchestra, these covers are based on the work of Henri Francois Victor Marius Michel (1846–1925), who, along with his father, Jean Michel (1821–1890), founded the 20th-century French school of binding.
This multi-colour design was originally crafted in crushed red levant Morocco leather for an 1876 French translation of The Book of Ruth. With clean, flowing lines suggesting leaves eddying in the wind, the quick and playful pace of an allegro is captured in this Marius Michel binding.
For his cover of Anatole France’s book Le Lys rouge, famed bookbinder Marius Michel inlaid a piece of crushed green levant Morocco with ten different colours of leather. This 1907 French binding is reproduced here, showcasing Michel’s signature use of curved stamps and ivy spirals.Autumn Symphony
Alistair Macready Bell was born in Darlington, England, in 1913 and emigrated to Canada in the early 1920s. It was here that he developed his personal style and rose to prominence as one of the country’s finest printmakers.
We at Paperblanks® are proud to celebrate the life and work of Alistair Bell as our first series in our new collection honouring Canadian artists and thinkers. Making the connection even stronger for us is the fact that Bell studied in our own hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. Bell arrived in our city in 1929 and enrolled at the Vancouver School of Art in 1935. It was here that he gained access to an artist’s press and produced his first print.
As one of a number of mid-century artists who developed a distinctly West Coast artistic sensibility, Bell received two Senior Art Fellowships from the Canada Council which allowed him to travel extensively, seeking out wild places and creatures around the world.
Though Bell passed away in 1997 his work and legacy lives on through his brilliant works, and we are honoured to bring four of his prints to our Paperblanks® collection.
Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel Les Misérables is a sprawling 1500-page tale of tragedy, strife and redemption. This novel, initially scorned by French critics as immoral, overly sentimental and traitorous to the regime, is now considered one of the greatest literary works of the nineteenth century.
The handwritten page reproduced here shows a sampling of the amount of work Hugo put in to craft Les Misérables. And it is not just the front cover of our Victor Hugo, Les Misérables journal that pays tribute to his most enduringly popular piece of writing. Prominently displayed on the back cover is a piece of art as iconic as the writing itself: the sketch of Cosette drawn by French illustrator Émile Bayard for the novel’s first edition.