Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Edward Gorey Christmas Booklet

Over the years, Edward Gorey created many Christmas drawings and illustrations. He illustrated Christmas themed books and even wrote his own - The Water Flowers. One of the more unusual Gorey Christmas items I have in my collection is this limited edition "Christmas Gift".

Limited to 150 signed, numbered copies, THE RETURN OF BINGO HUMPAGE, A Christmas Fable from Oceana is by Paul Theroux, and was used as "A Christmas Gift from Sheila Donnelly & Associates, Honolulu Hawaii, 25 December 1990". The booklet is stapled together and there is a piece of decorative raffia tied around the spine. The booklet came in a close fitting envelope with a matching larger mailing envelope (both unused). It is signed on the title page by Theroux and numbered on the limitation page at the rear of the booklet.

The cover illustration is by Edward Gorey, and he has signed the front of the booklet. Mr. Gorey has also hand colored one of the ornaments on the Christmas tree which the alligator is decorating. Different booklets had different ornaments colored in by Gorey. In the late 1990's Gotham Book Mart acquired about 7 of these booklets which had not been sent out, and each had a different ornament hand colored in red by EG. I acquired two of these unused booklets and indeed, each had different ornaments highlighted.

Apparently, this booklet was sent out in 1990 as a private Christmas Greeting by Shelia Donnelly. From 1967 to 1993, Paul Theroux was married to Anne Castle. In 1995 Theroux married Shelia Donnelly.

This small four page booklet contains the complete Christmas story written by Theroux. The story was commissioned by, and appeared in, the New York Times Book Review on December 2, 1990. The New York Times Book Review commissioned several holiday illustrations that year from Edward Gorey and asked for two additional drawings that would be shown to writers who would then write a short story based on the artwork. The Return of Bingo Humpage was Theroux's published submission.

No comments: