Sunday, February 9, 2014
Vampires - Two Centuries of Great Vampire Stories, is a collection of Vampire stories edited by Alan Ryan which was published in 1987 by Doubleday& Company. This book features a dust jacket design by Edward Gorey that is unique in his illustration career.
At first glance, the images adorning the front and back of the dust jacket appear to be color paintings by Edward Gorey. For those familiar with Mr. Gorey's works, the images are recognizable as pieces from his series of Fine Art etchings. In 1987, only stalwart collectors would have been familiar with his etchings, which could only be obtained through Gotham Book Mart. Since the etchings are printed in black ink, did Mr. Gorey recreate them for this use, or are they something different altogether?
Upon close examination of the prints and the images on the dust jacket, you will see that they are identical - all the dots, lines, shadows and highlights are exactly the same in both images. The bat image has been turned slightly, but it is the same image. The only solution is that Mr. Gorey took a couple of extra prints and hand colored them for this book cover. The coloration added to the cover image slightly obscures the black and white printing, so Mr. Gorey either used pastels or opaque water color paints to color this image. The more dramatic coloring on the bat indicates that he used water color paints on top of a print. This is the only instance I know of where Edward Gorey used one of his Fine Art prints and altered it for use in his commission work.