With six multi-colour woodcuts by Rigby Graham.
In de Bonnefant, 1988.
Designed by Hans van Eijk and printed by him, with assistance from his father, Joh., at In de Bonnefant.
Published in an edition of 89 copies, of which 29 are ‘specials’.
After Natura (see the first item in my list) I decided to see if I could get my hands on more of Peter Scupham’s work, particularly limited editions. The first to come along that could truly be described as ‘fine press’ was one of the standard edition copies of Under The Barrage, printed and published in the Netherlands in an edition of just 89 copies, split between standard and specials. It was a handsome book, particularly well printed, with a wonderful multi-colour woodcut illustration by Rigby Graham facing the title page. I was, and still am, very taken by it, but I was also aware that there was a special edition, much larger in format, printed on a heavier paper, with more illustrations and in a much finer binding. To say I wanted one is an understatement. The hunt was on!
I eventually saw a special when I got to meet its printer, Hans van Eijk, at my first Oxford Fine Press Book Fair in 2005. I found it to be a world apart from the standards, and very desirable indeed. But, to my dismay, it had already been sold.
I think that my face must have said it all, as, after practically pleading with Hans to look for, and sell me, a possible spare copy that he seemed to think he might have back home, he was kind enough to part with his one out-of-series archive special (denoted so with the word ‘Archief’ printed under the colophon), which he dug out for me on returning to the Netherlands after the fair. I still remember how over the moon I was the day it turned up in the post.
This was my first substantial fine press book, and with the author’s wonderfully crafted poetry, immaculately printed in Bembo, together with Rigby Graham’s bold woodcuts, it is a very striking volume which brings me great pleasure every time I pull it from the shelves.
I have since obtained many beautiful books printed at In de Bonnefant, but this special edition of Under the Barrage remains my absolute favourite.
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