Saturday, January 23, 2010

Words and Curiosities

As a lover of antiquities, reference books and, of course, words, I've spent the past few months wondering whether my overflowing bookshelves might have a little extra space for a copy of Pictorial Webster's: A Visual Dictionary of Curiosities.

Printed by Quercus Press, and released last August, Pictorial Webster's is a 400 page alphabetical arrangement of images printed from wood carvings and copper electrotypes used in 19th Century dictionaries.

The project was begun by John Carrera almost fifteen years ago when he found a tattered 1898 dictionary under his grandfather's favorite reading chair at the family farm. Read all about it right here.

Here's a peek inside the pages of this artistic and whimsical volume of lexical history:

Naturally, the copy I was thinking of adding to my collection is the Trade Edition, shown above, and available on for a very reasonable sum.

Nonetheless, this film detailing the making of the $4600 leather-bound Deluxe Edition, is incredible. From the actual printing of each image, to the cutting of the pages, to the painstaking binding and stamping of the cover, it is an amazing glimpse into the process of creating a book. I was blown away! Well worth 7 minutes to check it out.


Leili said...

I love how your blog *looks*. No mean feat, to create a clear, inviting, elegant blog.

Also: I am veritably drooling looking at those volumes. Thanks for sharing with us!

montague said...

this is crazy! totally amazing... thank you so much for sharing.

evan said...

Who knew that making a book used to be so complicated?! It makes me wonder why the Amazon Kindle wasn't invented centuries earlier, if only to get away from the daunting process of bookmaking! Also, did the linotype machine remind anyone else of Doc Brown's refrigerator in Back to the Future Part III? "Ice tea?"

limonana said...

swooooooooon. I need me a proper book collection.

anjali said...

i've been coveting this volume for months! it's so delicious - the only thing holding me back is the disastrous pile of books on my floor in need of a proper home. i'll probably break soon and buy another shelf.

molly said...

you have room for it, i'm sure!

niobe said...

Must. Have. Now.

Rebecca said...

Oooooohhh, me wantee! There is enough not enough space or money for all the books that I want to own.

A girl can dream though.