TS Eliot, published by Rampant Lions Press

There is much music in Eliot’s work. My thoughts began with a musical journey, which travels through this design.  This takes place within the two half circles, that on the front cover being predominately green indicating youth and beginning.  The music travels through this, from the doublures and onto the back cover where the half circle is predominately red, life’s experiences and a fleshing out with maturity, the place we return to with fresh eyes at a later stage of our development. The half-circles meet at the foredges of the boards, an obvious way to bring the full circle together.

My visual interpretation of contemporary musical notation moves from the doublures, via the half circles and point to a maze which is a particular interest of mine. I have used the maze often in my work, it is an obvious metaphor but, none the less potent for that. Life, and the choices we make – going up dead ends, the paths not chosen etc., and, of course the hope that we will hopefully find the right path.  In the centre of the maze, where we are in the poems, is the title.

The History of Trade Unionism 

by Sidney & Beatrice Webb, Longmans, Green & Co, London 1896

My design is a celebration of the trade union movement, The rise, the glory days, the marching, the banners, A time when the working man could feel a sense of pride, a sense of being worthwhile, contributing to the forward movement of Great Britain.   

Working man marches across the book – suminagashi marbled outlines flowing across the boards, the union banners embedded within.

Bound in full grey goatskin, leather joints, recessed, inlaid panels of  multi coloured leathers framed with metallic foils, raised onlay, gold and black tooling.  Marbled endpapers, doublures of handmade paper, edges coloured with pencils and graphite.  



A Shepherd's Life, WH Hudson, Illustrated by Reynolds Stone,
Compton Press, Tisbury, 11x7x1.5in


Without deep meanderings, Hudson is very direct in his writing and thinking, an exploration of place, Wiltshire, and life. I felt that his exploration of the people and place spoke for itself and any embellishment from me would be unnecessary.  This gave me the freedom to create a binding extolling the joy of the English landscape and I was further moved in this direction by the images of Reynolds Stone which I felt were in accordance with the text.


My musings are apparent within the design in the idea of the brightness of day and the luminosity of moonlight, a glimpse of the cycle of life, complemented by the dialogue between the stone of sheep folds and the landscape. The cover skin is Harmatan goat enhanced with dyes, raised onlaid panels of collaged goatskin sanded and buffed with recessed inlaid circles of resist dyed goatskin and vellum.


Brush Up Your Shakespeare Cole Porter, edition of 50, New York 2009
It is always a challenge to create an imposing statement in a small space - the great American Songbook, more than one song, more than one composer or period and I wanted to encompass the context of this particular period which for me is the Art Deco architecture of America. This binding ties in with a sequence of music related designed bindings I have made. In this instance I wanted to  place the music within the Art Deco theme.  The materials chosen, textures and colours reflect this.

Spine of variegated morocco goatskin, reversed pigskin sides, onlays of goat and frogskin, tooling in black, coloured edges.


Sea, Sky & Down
Richard Jefferies, Tern Press 1989,
illustrated by Nicholas Parry
Private Collection

Taliesin and the Mockers

The size and shape of this book is technically exacting but artistically exiting and the poem too on a favourite theme - the genesis of mankind facing who and what he is and how he grows to know the answers.

I designed the binding using much more of the illustrator’s approach than I normally do, drawing on my own materials such as paper pulp, a difficult medium to work with but stimulating and tactile, inlaid into the boards, plus the use of collaged onlays.

The idea was to take the floating heads the illustrator had conceived, taking them from the dark to the light, facing ultimately the organic growth of the earth and our awe at its majesty.


There is, again, a musical context, or at least a reference, in this binding, that of Sibelius.

I didn’t know Sibelius’ music until I saw an early black & white BBC documentary back in the sixties.  It was about the artist Christo who had wrapped part of the Australian coastline.   A massive storm had torn the wrappings and the film showed the results and was accompanied by the powerful 5th Symphony.  What came to me from this is the way in which his music, for me, expresses organic growth - present in this book.