Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Edward Gorey in High School

Edward Gorey attended the Francis Parker School in Chicago Illinois beginning in 1938 and graduating in 1942.  While there are not a lot of specifics known about Gorey's early academic years, collector Tom Michalak has put together an interesting outline of Mr. Gorey's life from early childhood through the early 1960's on the Loyola University Chicago Digital Special Collections Page which can be viewed HERE. This biographical outline includes many interesting facts and images, including Gorey's High School Diploma shown above.

I was recently sent some xeroxes of The Parker School's 1941 yearbook which includes the class picture for The Eleventh Grade. Edward Gorey is seated in the front row wearing a light colored shirt, the third person in from the right. This yearbook picture does not appear on the Loyola site.

Friday, January 23, 2015

January Auction News

After a lengthy dry spell with virtually no new original artwork by Edward Gorey being offered for sale, it has been a busy month at auction. Four pieces of original artwork, all of them dust wrapper designs, have been sold in the past couple weeks.
Earlier this month, the watercolor painting for Masterpieces of Mystery and Suspense from 1988 appeared on eBay and was sold. The cover vignette of the man entering Hell is a particularly nice detail of this artwork. The art for the hand lettered typography was not included with the painting.

Swann Auction Galleries January 22 Illustration Art sale had two finished book cover designs and one rough sketch for a book cover (see my post from December 30, 2014). All three pieces sold, with the Haunted America cover exceeding its pre-sale estimate. Swann now posts their auction items on eBay, but it should be noted that the final prices listed on eBay do not include the additional 25% buyers premiums. To see the final sale prices, visit

Monday, January 19, 2015

Blithering Christmas Stuffed Frog

For many years, I had heard that Edward Gorey created a small number of Stuffed Frogs in a Christmas fabric which were sold at his 1992 production of Blithering Christmas, but I had never seen one. Recently, the frog pictured appeared on an on-line auction (this frog is not in my collection). Mr. Gorey often sold Figbash dolls at his theatrical productions to benefit the theater, but the Christmas fabric frog was only ever available at Blithering Christmas. Mr. Gorey did sew a few frogs in non-holiday fabrics which he gave to friends.

One of the interesting things about this frog is the tag that is tied to one of its legs, stating that it was created by hand by Mr. Gorey in 1992. The earliest Figbash dolls sold at the theatrical productions did not have tags. It was not until Gotham Book Mart began selling the Figbash dolls that Edward Gorey made tags for them, at the request of GBM.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Glorious Nosebleed

Edward Gorey's fifth alphabet book, The Glorious Nosebleed was published by Dodd, Mead & Co. in 1975 as a hardcover book in illustrated boards with a matching dust jacket. This title is reprinted in Amphigorey Also.

The Glorious Nosebleed is one of Mr. Gorey's most amusing and popular alphabet books. The individual images have been reprinted as postcards and calendars over the years. The book ends with one of EG's nicest self portraits which accompanies, "He wrote it all down Zealously". 

This title was also published as a signed limited edition of  250 numbered copies and 26 signed/A -Z copies (limitation on a tipped-in colophon page at the front of the book). All of the limited edition copies were issued in a red slipcase. I am showing numbered copy #55/250 and lettered copy K. I recently acquired the lettered edition from a dealer at the Boston Book Fair this past November.

This is one of the easiest Gorey books to spot in first printing because the binding color of the first edition (including the limited edition copies) is tomato red. When this book went into a second printing, the color of the binding changed to cherry red. I have put the two books side by side so you can see the color difference (the first edition is on the right).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Z is for Zillah

While discussing The Gashlycrumb Tinies with a good friend this past Thanksgiving, she mentioned that she had always wanted a doll like Zilla's for her very own. My partner Bill, who is handy with such things, decided to make one for her as a Christmas gift.

The resulting doll has a moveable head, and is weighted so it can sit "splay fashion" like the doll in the original illustration. Gin was not included.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Edward Gorey at Auction

The upcoming auction of Illustration Art on January 22, 2015 at Swann Galleries in New York City features three pieces of original art by Edward Gorey.

The first item is the preliminary sketch for the wraparound dust wrapper of The Spell of the Sorcerer's Skull by John Bellairs (1984). It is interesting to compare how closely the sketch and the final artwork match (see my post from February 16, 2010).

The next piece is the complete finished art for Haunted America, a compilation of ghost stories by Marvin Kaye (see my post from January 6, 2014). This is a wonderfully vibrant image that was severely cropped on the final publication. Swann sold the preliminary artwork for this piece at the January 2014 Illustration Art Sale.

The third offering at the sale is Edward Gorey's final book illustration project before he passed away in April 2000. The Beast Under the Wizard's Bridge lot includes the separate artwork for the hand lettering on the cover and spine of the book.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Light Meters

While visiting the Boston area in early November, we were delighted to find that the time of our visit coincided with the annual Boston Book Fair. We found many new dealers to get to know, and lots of wonderful items to inspect. We even came away with a few new treasures for our collections.

Book fairs are a fantastic way to expand your collections and knowledge. Even in the booths with items that do not pertain to our specific collecting interests, we can learn more about the world and the records left behind. It is usually true that a dealer will have a specific area of interest and knowledge, and that they are happy to inform the curious about the pieces they have brought. The danger, of course, is that you will find something that you didn't realize you suddenly need to have!

It is also true that not everything is on the Internet! At the book fair, we came away with several items that were not listed at online stores or websites. One such item that I was able to add to my collection was the limited edition copy of Light Meters by Felicia Lamport, illustrated by Edward Gorey.

Light Meters was published in 1982 in a limited edition of 350 numbered and 26 lettered copies. Each of these copies were protected with a fragile glassine dust wrapper and slipcased. The copy I found at the fair was number 128 in mint condition in the original packaging - including the original brown paper wrapping inside the printed mailing box.