Shakespeare's Flowers


Limited edition of forty-nine copies, signed and numbered.  *This edition is now sold out*

Distinguished Book Award 1999, Miniature Book Society Inc.  

In designing and making this book I have combined the beauty of Shakespeare’s poetry with the charm of herbal woodcuts in a binding intended to reflect the precious nature of both. The book is bound by hand in a blue calf leather, decorated with a hand gilt design of flowers and leaves. Each impression is made individually with heated brass engraved hand tools.

A gilded sterling silver clasp in the form of a leaf fastens the covers of the book.  This has been especially designed and made by the Worcestershire jeweler Judith Price. A soft black suede case is attached to the clasp and protects the book, which measures approximately 3" x 23/4" (inclusive of case).

Some of the most beautiful phrases in the English Language were written by William Shakespeare. Then, herbal medicine reigned supreme and the properties of plants were comprehensively documented in books called Herbals.  Shakespeare was familiar with these and his allusions to plants and flowers carried meanings beyond the obvious.

Herbals were illustrated to enable the reader to identify accurately the plants to be used medicinally. The illustrations in early Herbals were printed from woodcuts; hard wooden blocks with the image cut into the surface. I have used metal copies of these to illustrate the quotations, marrying the best of each. 

The book is letterpress printed  from blocks onto hand made paper produced by Griffen Mill. The paper is made from linen, cotton and manila fibers in a similar manner to the process used in Shakespeare’s day. The quality of the paper, its strength and durability are unmistakable.

The illustrations are hand coloured individually using watercolors, as they were in early Herbals. The seven quotations and seven illustrations fold up concertina style into the book.    

   © Janet Kellett 1996-2015   jan dot kellett at shaw dot ca