Saturday, April 06, 2013

Alberto Martini Illustrates Raw Edges by Perceval Landon

Perceval Landon (1869-1927) was a lawyer, journalist and author and was best known in his day as a war correspondent during the Boer War. Raw Edges was his only collection of stories that verged into the supernatural but this rare 1908 publication contains one of the best ghost stories ever written which has been regularly anthologised since this first appearance, "Thurnley Abbey". The book is further distinguished, however, by its illustrations. Alberto Martini provides four intense black and white designs which meld his own proto-surrealist style with the dark edges of Landon's prose and create something rather striking and memorable. The top image in particular suggests some influence from Harry Clarke and could almost be a replacement image for one of Clarke's illustrations of Poe's Tales. Some unnamed book designer should also be credited for the idea to take the top edge of one of the illustrations and use it along the top of the upper board making a very attractive - and, as it happens, very scarce - book.

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