High Street

RICHARDS, J.M. / RAVILIOUS, Eric

RICHARDS, J.M. High Street

Country Life, 1938.

First edition. Original pictorial paper covered boards in original glassine dustwrapper with printed card flaps. Cover illustrations and 24 full page colour lithographs by Eric Ravilious. A superb, near fine copy, showing only trivial wear to the spine ends and corners and a prize label (to Paul Sharp) to the front pastedown, in a very good glassine with a couple of minor chips and two closed tears. An exceptional copy of a very fragile production.

Ravilious began work on his 'High Street' lithographs in 1935 following a suggestion from Helen Binyon that he do an alphabet of shops. He deliberately sought out odd shops with special and often Victorian visual appeal as inspiration for the work. With the addition of text from Ravilious's friend, Jim Richards, what was produced was one of the most famous and iconic illustrated books of the twentieth century.
The New Statesman wrote that the designs were 'so gay and vividÂ…that they surprise the reader like the shops themselves when they light up on a foggy morning'.
The book was never reprinted because the original plates were destroyed in a bombing raid in 1942 (in the same year Ravilious, who was a captain in the Royal Marines and an official war artist, was killed in action).
Notoriously hard to find in decent condition, as the publisher's pictorial boards are so fragile, and virtually unknown in its glassine complete with flaps.

PROVENANCE: Paul S Sharp (1921-1998; Artist and graphic designer; Wakefield School of Arts and Crafts prize plate to front pastedown).

Stock ID: 31683

£6,000.00

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