NY: Abrams and the Grolier Club, (2007). Small quarto. 215pp. One of 250 deluxe copies, of which 200 were for sale, signed by the authors, Anne C. Bromer and Julian I. Edison, and including a facsimile of the book in miniature format. This unique set features a remarkable pair of designer bindings by Michael Wilcox, the leading art binder in North America.
The designs on the two books vary, complementing each other. Wilcox explains that he decided to use different binding tools for the larger and smaller books "to reflect something of the considerable variety of binding treatments illustrated in the text." On the front cover of the large volume is the image of a woman holding a miniature book, who, according to Wilcox, "...is dressed in a modest version of a style found in the 16th century French Court. She represents a time when the making of miniature books might more easily have been associated with miniature beings," like fairies. In contrast, the gentleman on the back cover is purely 21st century: President Barack Obama holds a miniature book opened to reveal the word "Hope." Instead of fairies hovering over his right and left shoulders, he has miniature books in the form of satellites. Below the noblewoman on the front cover is a toy soldier reading a miniature book; the rear cover has a miniature robot on a laptop computer.
This juxtaposition of past and present is also evident between the large and small books. According to Wilcox, "The traditional looking design surrounding the ovals with the portraits [on the large book] are composed of leaves, fruits, wrens, and small books, which support my main theme: the amusement to be found in the astounding proliferation of miniature books." On the miniature version, the design was inspired by the inner circuitry of a computer, although Wilcox remarks that "surprisingly, it looks remarkably old-fashioned." The ovals on the facsimile miniature book contain the same hands holding the same miniatures as those seen on the larger book. Wilcox notes that a subtle secondary theme for the binding was the "Hope and Heart required to continue all worthwhile endeavors, even ones concerning small things such as miniature books." This is reflected in the motif of hearts and stars that is carried throughout.
Both bindings have been executed with creativity and superlative skill, and express a sense of delight in the subject. Wilcox has employed elaborate gold tooling and masterful, brightly-colored morocco onlays on backgrounds of blue and black morocco. Both books are housed together in a specially designed box that includes a lidded compartment. According to Wilcox, the compartment "could be used to hold a magnifying glass... or a pair of strong glasses," and it presently contains copies of Wilcox's concept drawings for the two bindings.
Profusely illustrated with more than 260 full-color images. A comprehensive history of the miniature book that is as informative as it is fun to read. The only copy commissioned by the Bromers for a designer binding. (Miniature book measures 3 by 2 7/8; 76x73mm). Item #22916