Saturday, September 13, 2008

Manuscript Book

This is a lovely thing. A huge tooled leather book by Marcus Warne & Co. of Belfast. A small slip of paper laid inside reveals that this is "Sundry jottings for wife, children and friends. Scribbled at odd times during 20 years travelling. Written in book by my son Harry. Illustrated by Harry Foster Newey assistant-master central school of art Birmingham" by D. J. O'Neill. The contents of the book are indeed sundry jottings: excruciatingly bad poetry, short stories made up for the children, copies of letters sent and received from Queen Victoria, wise and/or sentimental words, and so on.

What makes this special though is the hand painted illustrations, or illuminations perhaps would be a better term, on every page. Even the decorative borders and corner medallions are pieces of art on some of the pages towards the front of the book. Otherwise there are very fine pen and ink sketches, little 'nonsense' drawings reminiscent of Tenniel and Alice, aesthetic movement cartouches and literally illuminated letters with embossed gold leaf. The book seems to have been put together around 1880. I have had this beauty for a while now and am blogging about it at this stage because I am considering now sending it on to an auction house for sale.

A larger set of photos of the book and its illustrations are HERE.
PS. Chris, I'm glad you like the painting but I'm afraid I can't remember and didn't make a note of when it was painted. I know the artist David Payne died in the 1970s but, as I mentioned, Google is remarkably silent about him and Wikipedia lists five David Paynes, none of whom is an artist. Even Emmanuel Cooper's The Sexual Perspective is silent which is where I thought I might have seen it before but turns out I hadn't.

1 comment:

Chris Bellinger said...

The manuscript book is almost like a journal. and the handwriting is something else. it is the sort of thing that could be published....
i would like to link to one of the photos in your flicker set for my blog at some point if I may?
P.S there is a direct link from artyhings......

Who links to my website?