Monday, October 5, 2009

Dogear Wryde Postcards - Interpretive Series

In 1979, Edward Gorey published Dogear Wryde Postcards: Interpretive Series. Issued as 13 black and white cards in a printed envelope, each card in the series features a lizard giving a charades-style interpretation of a word that begins with the letter "I". This set of cards has been reprinted in The Betrayed Confidence in black & white, and several individual cards appear in date/calendar books in color.

In an exercise that would have driven lesser men mad, Mr. Gorey decided to hand color 76 sets of these postcards (50 numbered and 26 lettered) - that is 1064 individual watercolor paintings (a cover and 13 cards for each set)! I am showing set #29/50. An additional hand signed colophon page is included with each hand colored set signifying the limitation. Of the several hand colored limited edition Gorey pieces created over the years, this is the Holy Grail. The water coloring is magnificently executed, with subtle shadings and metallic paints.

Because of the amount of work involved in creating so many individual painted cards, the Interpretive Series was rather late arriving to be sold through Gotham Book Mart. In 1980, I had the good fortune to be visiting New York City the week these unusual Gorey items were delivered to GBM. At that time, I was still getting myself acquainted with the works of EG and GBM. Thankfully, Matthew Monaghan (director of all things Gorey at GBM at the time) told me not to buy the several books I came in to get, and instead advised me to spend all my money on this single item. I have always been glad I followed that advice!


Susan said...

These are wonderful! Love the lizards!

I have a question that perhaps you may know the answer to. I have a handmade green "lounge lizard" bean bag creature Mr. Gorey gave to a friend of his, as a host gift - do you happen to know how many lizard dolls he made? I can't find any information on them at all, so if you can help shed some light on them, I'd greatly appreciate it. Thank you!

ampootozote said...


We will get to bean bag creatures/animals eventually (so much stuff to sort through, photograph & write about!)...Mr. Gorey hand made several kinds of stuffed creatures, the most often seen are the Figbash dolls. All are rare and very uncommon. One thing to be careful of is that the creatures are stuffed with rice, so keep yours safe from rodents or other grain loving animals. More on these interesting fellows later.

Susan said...

Thank you for your reply! I do keep my lizard safely away from pests (mostly my cat, in this case) and wrapped in acid-free tissue, since the fabric used is silk. I'm really looking forward to your future posts on beanbag creatures, but no need to rush. I've been enjoying all your wonderful posts! Thanks again! Susan

Saatz said...

Hello Ampootozote!

I so enjoy following your blog, and it has helped me very much with expanding my collection. I do have one question that you may be able to answer. I have an signed edition of The Interpretive Series, and the Colophon says:

Seventy-six sets of Dogear Wryde Postcards: Interpretive Series, consisting of thirteen cards, have been coloured and signed by the artist. Those numbered 1-50 are for sale; those lettered A-Z are reserved for the artist and publisher. This is set (but it doesn't have a number written in or anything, it just stops there. Do you know why the colophon was included if it has no number written on it?

I am quite puzzled by this. Thanks very much, Universal Edibility.

ampootozote said...

I am slightly confused the description of your set...Is is a black and white set with the extra unnumbered colophon page laid in? Is the page printed only, or hand signed but not numbered?

Saatz said...

The envelope itself is signed, the colophon is unsigned and unnumbered. What I don't understand is why include a colophon with no indication of what set it is? After all, it does say "this is set…. Thanks for your help!

ampootozote said...

You do not have a limited edition set...You have the standard issue with a signed envelope...which is nothing to sneeze at. Most envelopes on the black and white sets were unsigned.

Including the colophon page in the set was a mistake. Obviously, the colophon page was printed at the same time as the cards and the person who put the sets together just included it without thinking.