Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Broken Spoke, Original Artwork

The Broken Spoke is the only "A Collection" book by Edward Gorey where the original artwork has been sold off individually (apart from one drawing which appears in Leaves From A Mislaid Album - see my posting from April 24, 2009). The fact that the art has been sold is probably the reason that these postcards have never been printed as a set of individual cards - the printing quality would not be up to the high standards needed to reproduce the cards for sale.

Pictured above is a piece of original artwork from The Broke Spoke. This piece is titled Nineteenth century Japanese stencil: bats and bicycles. This image is unique because it was drawn to be printed in reverse in the book (see below). Usually, when Edward Gorey wanted to create a black background for a piece of art, he would paint it in, however due to the fine lines in this piece, it made much more sense to draw the piece and print it in reverse. Mr. Gorey has drawn on his years working at Anchor to visualize what the final printed piece would look like in the book.

I was thrilled to get this piece, especially because it features the calling card for The Broken Spoke. As was pointed out in comments on an early blog posting, every Gorey "A Collection" book features one small white calling card hidden somewhere amongst the drawings. The use of calling cards was a Victorian practice that was perceived a a mark of distinction and style by upper class women and men. Cards with the printed name of the "caller" were presented at the door on specified days when a home was "open for visitors". Mr. Gorey adapted this practice for his books, presenting a "hide and seek" calling card in every book he produced.


muffla said...

Do you have a picture from Broken Spoke of the skeleton riding the bicycle with the purple wheels? I've been looking for that image forever.

ampootozote said...

All the images from this book are printed in Amphigorey Also...