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.