Friday, April 24, 2009

Leaves from a Mislaid Album

Leaves from a Mislaid Album was published in 1972 by Gotham Book Mart in two limited editions. The colophon page states that seven of the drawings had appeared in First Person Magazine (volume #1) in 1960, and the style of the artwork is consistent with Mr. Gorey's earlier works. I have seen one original drawing from this title sold through eBay.

The first limited edition consists of 17 illustrated cards in a green printed folder, all housed in a light green printed envelope. This edition was limited to 500 copies and the limitation appears on the folder which holds the cards. This edition was hand numbered, but not issued signed by Edward Gorey. I am showing copy #86 which has been signed on the outside of the folder by Mr. Gorey. My copy was also inscribed to me on the envelope by EG, where he signed the piece a second time.

A more elaborate signed, limited edition was published in an edition of 26 lettered and 50 Roman-numeraled copies. This very special edition consists of 18 printed cards which are housed in a custom-made folding box with the title pasted on the spine and an additional illustration pasted on the cover. The box is held closed with black ribbon ties. I am showing copy E/26.

The publication of Leaves from a Mislaid Album is a departure by Mr. Gorey from publishing his work in a traditional book format. Unlike The West Wing (to date Mr. Gorey's closest sibling to this title), the lack of a binding makes Leaves a portfolio of prints with no set order in which they should be viewed. The images printed for Leaves consist of macabre character portraits which invite the viewer to invent stories based on the attitude and body language of the subject. The notable "odd man out" in this gallery is a portrait of the Doubtful Guest, found sipping an old fashioned soda. He is so unexpected an inclusion to this rogue's gallery that he becomes the comedy relief.

In the photo to the right, I am showing the front and back of the original announcement card which was used to promote this title. As time goes on, illustrated announcement/prospectus cards become common for most Gorey titles. The earliest announcement card I have in my collection (which I just ran across in a file) is for The Iron Tonic from 1969.

Leaves from a Mislaid Album is included in Amphigorey Too, but I feel that the piece loses something when the images are printed two to a page. A large part of the experience of this Gorey portfolio is being able to hold and look at each card in turn.


Goreyphile said...

I love this edition, I missed out on a roman numbered set on ABE, I "thought" about and realized I was nuts--when back only hours later and it was sold. I am so happy to see the folder up close and clear. What did the drawing sell for on ebay--I missed that one!!

Goreyphile said...

I do have the 500 limited set signed by Mr. Gorey--and an extra unsigned set if you know of anyone interested in a purchase. I thought about having a custom frame done with a openable back and I could replace the card inside the matting to view a new card every so often.

ampootozote said...

I will have to look up the price it went for. The drawing was the "furtive man in the darkened archway", which was a very nice piece.

Anonymous said...

I've seen this work before, and I think that it is either The Gashlycrumb Tinies if they grew up, or a redone version of "Cries and Whispers". I'm not sure why thought that.