La Prose Du Transsibérien

by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay
Illustrated by Kitty Maryatt
Published by Two Hands Press, California, 2018 
Book dimensions: H 372 x W 110 x D 21 mm
Box dimensions: H 400 x W 130 x D 40mm
Sample board #54
Bound in 2019
Collection of Neale Albert, USA

About the book:

Kitty Maryatt re-created the Blaise Cendrars/Sonia Delaunay 1913 publication, La Prose du Transsibérien. Just two of the remarkable distinctions with this edition of 150 are that it includes hand-painted pochoir (stencil) illustrations and the text was printed by letterpress in multiple colors and typefaces. The 1913 book was printed on four large sheets of paper, trimmed, glued into a scroll, then folded in half vertically and folded again into an accordion-fold book. The original binding was a piece of vellum, painted in oils, folded in half, which was to be glued to the top edge of the book. 

About the binding:

  • A concertina binding with a blue goatskin spine and vellum covered boards.
  • The case for this concertina binding was made by making a false round from a half-round wooden dowel.
  • This was covered in layers of watercolour paper followed by a layer of aerolinen and leather to finish off the spine and attach the boards to it.
  • The vellum for the boards was embroidered with coloured threads to mimic handwriting.

Design Description:

The author of the book, Blaise Cendrars, lost his right arm in WW1 and had to learn to write with his left hand following this. Taken from examples of his actual handwriting, the left-hand board (back) has part of the story transcribed in his left hand and the right hand board (front) in his right hand. The words are intricately embroidered using the colours and patterns taken from the wonderfully vibrant pochoir of Sonia Delaunay.

More details about this binding can be read over five blog posts, starting here.

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