The private view for the the London Art Book Fair at the Whitechapel Gallery was on Friday afternoon, a beautiful day to be swaning around the east end of London. We were there, for the most part, to wave the Old Stile Press edition of Equus into public view for the first time, to meet the artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins (remarkably after an email friendship of some years this was the first time we had met), to shake Simon Callow's hand, and as it turned out, to be given a copy of the beast, the book, which was simply delightful and is now the treasured highlight of our Old Stile Press collection.
There were many other highlights at the exhibition and this was one of my purchases. And how could I be expected to resist any book with such a quote emblazoned across the cover in thick black type. An amazingly fresh edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I say fresh because although there are a million editions of this novella, this is printed on huge sheets of floppy newsprint and is illustrated with 1970s tobacco adverts. The size and typography make you feel that you are flicking through the pages of some large magazine that came with a Sunday paper. This is not fine printing, not even a limited edition, but it is book design that is deceptively intelligent, imaginative and new. The publishers are Four Corners Books and this is number one in a series of previously published (classic) texts that they are putting out, each interpreted in a different way through book design and illustration. They are extremely affordable as well which is always a bonus.