Sunday, May 29, 2011

Edward Gorey's Home - Elephant House

When Edward Gorey passed away unexpectedly in April 2000, family, friends and fans were shocked and saddened. As the 10th season for the Edward Gorey House celebrates the life and work of this extraordinary man, I thought it was a good time to take a look at his home, which now operates as the museum. The museum is a wonderful place to visit, take in the yearly exhibitions, and to be able to walk through the building and grounds that Mr. Gorey called home for many years...but what was the house like when Mr. Gorey lived and worked there?

Fortunately, photographer Kevin McDermott was able to capture the house before the lengthy process of cleaning it out and sorting through all the stuff occurred. Even more fortunately for all of us, Mr. McDermott published his photographs in the wonderful Elephant House or, The Home of Edward Gorey (Pomegranate Books, San Francisco 2003). The introduction for the book was written by author John Updike, and was originally issued as a standard coffee table hardback and in two limited editions. The regular hardcover edition is still in print and available at bookstores and on line.

Advice to young authors has always been "write about what you know", so it is not surprising that Edward Gorey wrote about everything and anything! As the photographs of his home attest, Mr. Gorey collected and was interested in everything...and I mean everything! Books, cats, rocks, toys, art, yard sale finds, things picked up on the side of the road, and popular culture all found a home with Mr. Gorey. Objects are placed with deliberate, and often amusing care inside and outside his home, creating an environment that stimulated his imagination every day. It is no wonder that his works continue to inspire countless scores of admirers today.
The limited editions were created in editions of 100 numbered and 26 lettered (A to Z) copies, each housed in an embossed slipcase and hand signed & numbered/lettered by Kevin McDermott and John Updike. Each numbered copy was issued with an original signed/numbered photograph of "Ogdred's Place" laid in. I have copy #100/100. The 26 lettered copies have an original signed/lettered photograph of "Edward's Hands" laid in. I am showing copy Z/26.

Since Gotham Book Mart closed, the limited edition copies have been difficult to find, but author Kevin McDermott still has a few of the numbered limited edition copies available for purchase. He can be contacted through his website Mr. McDermott also sells individual limited edition prints of his work through his site. I chose Looking Out the Window for my collection because it is such a haunting image.

1 comment:

Bloglion said...

Awesome post. I'd like to say that visiting the Gorey House museum is one of the most organic and enriching museum experiences anyone will ever encounter. The tours are unstructured and highly informative, it's staff is made up of many of Edward's friends and acquaintances, and it's ideally situated off of route 6A (one of the most historic and quintessentially New England roadways). It's simply a beautiful encounter.