Monday, 12 November 2012

Blair Hughes-Stanton - Wood Engraving

.......... or more specifically the wood engravings used to illustrate "The Searchers" a play by Velona Pilcher.


This work for theatre is sub titled "A War Play" described in the foreword - "This play takes place in an Evacuation Hospital near the Front during the last War, but on which side we - the audience - are not told. The uniforms are ambiguous. The colours predominating in the performance are black and white and khaki, and there is also a little red, as we shall see, that comes from flames and flowers and from the crosses on the shoulders of the Searcher"


This book dating to 1929 is a First Edition of the "Reading Version" limited to 1000 copies  and is illustrated with wood engravings by Hughes Blair-Stanton (1902-1981). Oddly the dust cover states "with twelve wood engravings" whilst the title page suggests only 9. Actually 9 large scale scenes, as above, plus the cover motif repeated 3 times.

The cover notes on the edition say "The delicate sombre woodcuts of Blair Hughes-Stanton illumine the author's conception and suggest to the reader the staged spectacle"

The book ends with a passage from Shelley's Prometheus Unbound

My wings are folded o'er mine ears:
My wings are crossed o'er mine eyes:
Yet through their silver shade appears,
And through their lulling plumes arise,
A shape, a throng of sounds;
May it be no ill to thee
O thou of many wounds!
Near whom, for our sweet sister's sake,
Ever thus we watch and wake.


In Remembrance.....

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