Through the Woods

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Bound by Yuko Matsuno

Through the Woods - The English Woodland - April to April
by By H. E. Bates
With 73 Engravings on Wood By Agnes Miller Parker
Victor Gollancz Ltd Covent Garden, 1936

The binding won the 'Mansfield Medal' for the 'Best Book of the Competition' in The Designer Bookbinders Competition, 2016.

Bound in Hewit's Grey Pentland goatskin. Underlays of hand ink-dotted calfskin and Zerkall paper with Gampi paper onlays hand-coloured with soft pastels. Link stitch with secondary sewing. Full linen board attachment. Cushioned calfskin onlays with hand-inked dots. Edges decorated with soft pastels and acid-free pigment ink. Decorated doublures and endpapers with soft pastels and hand-coloured Gampi paper onlays. Hand-sewn Japanese silk endbands. Full cloth covered drop back box in green. Hand ink-dotted calfskin onlays from which letters of the title are cut out on the spine. The colours of the onlays relate to 'April to April' from the book title.

Yuko writes:

This book is the story of the English woodland through the four seasons. It has beautiful wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker. I was fascinated by her engravings of wild animals. They remind me that the woods, "are oases of wild life in a too-ordered, too-civilised country." as the author, Bates wrote in the last chapter of the book. The animal designs that appear on the cover, doublures, endpapers and edges are based on her engravings in the text.

I have created the wood through the four seasons on my binding. I decided to use the colours, dark green, brownish orange, light grey and light green to express each season. Dark green is the colour for summer. It is dark in the wood in summer because the wood is covered with thickly grown leaves as Bates wrote "There are countless darknesses, unknown places". It is full of colours in the wood in autumn, including brownish orange of autumn leaves. The colour of winter is light grey as the snow brings the whiteness, the silence and the stillness. Light green expresses the wood in spring in which the woodland renews itself. The hand-inked dots not only represent the four seasons in those colours, but also suggest lives in the wood, in Bates' words, "the everlasting vibration of life".

There are some of my favourite sentences at the end of the book. 'To that eternal question " Where shall we go?" they have in fact supplied the best of all answers: through the woods. Shall we go?' I hope that this binding will take people who see it both into the wonderful world of this book and the beautiful English woods.


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