The Collector

by John Fowles
Illustrated by David Álvarez
Published by Suntup Editions, California, USA, 2021,
Book dimensions: H 235 x W 163 x D 35mm
Box dimensions: H 320 x W 252 x D 86mm
Sample board #62
Bound in 2022

About the book:

Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller, The Collector is the bestselling novel that catapulted John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelists.

When Frederick, a lonely clerk who collects butterflies, sets his gaze upon Miranda, a beautiful young art student, he discovers something more beautiful, rare and precious than any butterfly he’s ever seen. Disturbing, engrossing, and utterly unforgettable, The Collector is the story of Frederick’s obsessive love for Miranda, as he kidnaps her and holds her prisoner in the cellar of his rural farmhouse. The novel contains both the perspective of the captor and the captive.

The Collector is the first novel by John Fowles, whose multilayered fiction frequently explores the tensions between free will and the constraints of society, even as it plays with traditional novelistic conventions, and challenges readers to find their own interpretations. Upon its release in 1963, The New York Times raved, “There is not a page in this first novel which does not prove that its author is a master storyteller.”

In 1965, The Collector was adapted into an Academy Award nominated motion picture directed by William Wyler.

About the binding:

  • Full leather Bradel binding with amandine buffalo covering the boards, and blackberry goatskin on the spine.
  • Produced through a collaboration between Erin Fletcher in Boston, Massachusetts and Hannah Brown in Somerset, England.
  • Limited to 26 copies.
  • Front cover features a handmade embroidered butterfly leather onlay.
  • Printed letterpress on Mohawk Superfine.
  • Endpapers are hand marbled and custom designed for this edition.
  • Housed in a handmade Tulipwood enclosure featuring an acrylic viewing panel in the lid displaying seven butterflies with their scientific names printed letterpress on paper labels. The book sits in a well in the base of the box which is lined with dark grey suede.

Design Description:
Designed like an entomological tray, the Tulipwood box was designed with an acrylic panel in the lid displaying seven butterflies. It was inspired by a previous bookbinding project I worked on that is now in the collection of the Boston Athenæum, USA.

More details about this project can be found at the Suntup Editions website here, and information about the making process will soon be available to read in one of my blog posts.

In March 2022 I was professionally filmed by Flying Tiger Productions going through the processes for my work of this Lettered edition. Here is the footage that I am very happy to share showing the creation of the embroidered butterflies for the covers of the bindings that were bound by Erin Fletcher in the USA. The second half of the video shows the process of gluing seven colourful butterflies into the lid of the tulip wood containers using small paper triangular props under their wings to keep them super secure. They are additionally pinned in place with brass tacks and labelled with their scientific names like in an entomological tray. These panels are then backed with dark grey suede and screwed into the viewing lid of the tulip wood containers, which are constructed with a perspex window in the top piece of the box.

There is a second video showing the production of the bindings by Erin who I collaborated with on this edition on the Suntup Editions website.

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