In this wordless biography, wood engraver George A. Walker celebrates the life of Mary Pickford, a silent film star whose groundbreaking contributions to the motion picture industry earned her the title ‘Queen of the Movies’.
In this edition wood engraver George A. Walker tells the story of Pickford’s life in a sequential narrative not unlike the silent films of old, complete with inter-titles. The black-and-white wood engravings recall the monochromatic media of Pickford’s films, and echo the experience of interpreting stories visually.
This limited edition of Mary Pickford: The Queen of the Silent Film Era contains 87 wood engravings hand printed on 250 gsm Revere Felt mouldmade paper created at the 600 year old Cartiere Magnani mill in Italy. The book comes fully bound in Asahi silk cloth with a clamshell protective box and a drawer that contains ephemera from Pickford's career. The number 87 was Pickford’s age when she died and the number 35 (copies of the limited edition) refers to the 35mm film on which silent movies were shot. An additional 10 hors commerce copies were made and these are lettered A–J.
The book features hand marbled end leaves and bevelled cover boards with a wood engraving print counter sunk into the cover.
Book size: 6.25" X 7.5" X 1.75" (160 pages printed recto)
Edition size: 35 copies signed and numbered
Price: $1,500.00 USD limited edition. The base price is $1500.00 however some copies are more expensive if they contain an original letter, signed photo, film cell or other Mary Pickford collectible or rare ephemera. All copies will have a postcard, cigarette card and/or other fun reference material from era of the silent film.
Toronto-born Gladys Louise Smith, who would later come to be known as Mary Pickford, first burst onto the silent-film scene at the tender age of 17. But Pickford was more than just ‘the girl with the curls’. In addition to her acting career—a brilliant success that spanned 52 features—Pickford also helped establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as United Artists studio.
Not quite ready to buy the limited edition? No worries — the Porcupine's Quill has published a popular edition of the book with all the engravings and text for only $22.95. You'll just miss out on a copy printed directly from the wood engravings and pieces of the fine ephemera collected in the drawer of the limited edition. But, if you like, I will sign your paperback copy and personalize it for you so that your copy will be unique.
The Porcupine's Quill edition is typeset in Good Bad Man. This historic revival font was created especially for use in the preservation and restoration of the 1916 silent film “The Good Bad Man,” starring Douglas Fairbanks who Pickford married in 1920. The paperback edition is printed on acid-free Zephyr Antique laid. Smyth sewn into sixteen page signatures with hand-tipped endleaves, front and back.
To order your paperback copy of Mary Pickford just click on the button to the left. This will take you to the PayPal website for you to complete your purchase. Then email me by clicking the envelope link ICON. I will respond with the shipping details and sign your copy.
It took me over the course of four years to print and engrave all the blocks, write the inter-titles and create the binding.
ABOVE: The first few years were occupied with research, engraving, printing, proofing and working out the page layout.
Above: Here are some sample spreads with the inter-titles across from the wood engravings. The engravings were carved on end grain maple wood. Notice that I created the images and inter-titles in the portrait orientation. This is unlike how movies are usually viewed in the landscape format. This is an easier way to read in the book format and is now a common video orientation because of smart phone movies.
Above: After the book was printed I started to sketch out ideas for the book. I wanted a place to include ephemera from Pickford's career (post cards, cigarette cards, letters, photos, signed material). Having a small drawer sitting under the book seemed a good solution so I set about making a prototype.
Above: Sewing the books on supports with linen thread. I made this little sewing frame especially for this occasion.
Above: End leaves were made for each book by sponge painting sheets with acrylic paint. It's lots of fun creating unique papers for each book. They look like Jackson Pollock abstracts.
Above: I made several test bindings with different silk cloths. My favourite was from Talas in New York. The Asahi Bookcloth in Marine Blue and Blue Mohair were my final choices.
Above: Working out the measurements for the box took some time. I wanted the fit to be tight but not crowded to allow for humidity expansion. I house most of my books in clam shell boxes because they offer the best protection for the work inside.
Above: Here's the book in the clam shell box with the drawer filled with a sample film strip, postcard from the 1930s.
Below: The clam shell box closed showing the inset engraving of Mary Pickford behind the camera.