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James Whitcomb Riley

Fantasy and Nonsense

Tryst Press


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Fantasy & Nonsense is the delightful union of the work of James Whitcomb Riley, 19th century American master of verse in dialect, and Berrot H. Hubrecht whose whimsical wood engravings recall classic children's illustrations of the late Victorian era.

  • James Whitcomb Riley (American).
  • Woodcut illustrations by Berrot H. Hubrecht [Robert Buchert] (American).
  • Binding by Scott Kellar (American).
  • Provo, UT: Tryst Press, 2001.
  • A copy of the exhibition catalogue is included along with Scott Kellar’s signed artist statement.
  • The binding was selected for inclusion in the 2012 Exhibition of the Rocky Mountain Bookbinders Association held at the University of Utah in 1993, and was awarded third prize in the juried competition.
  • Bound in full purple Harmatan goatskin with back-pared leather onlays and foil embossing with multiple colored end sheets with rolled leather yellow end bands, and pages link-stitched.
  • Housed in a custom-made cloth-covered clamshell box with a leather label containing the title and author's name in gilt.

Riley is typically remembered for his earthy depictions of rural Midwestern American life, but this unique compilation of poems, ranging from gobbledygook rhyming to gothic macabre, offers a devilishly playful view of the poet rarely revealed elsewhere in his work. His revelry in tales fanciful—delicious fascination with things spooky and strange—is the focus of this collection. While many past collections of Riley's work have been intended for young readers, this one is designed as an enchantment for all ages.

Berrot Hubrecht's penchant for the fantastic is equally beguiling. His clever wood engravings breathe colorful life into goblins, witches, mythical creatures and things unseen. The text was printed from a handset type, one which brightly heightens the effect of so much humor and charm.

Artist Statement: In designing a binding for this anthology, I tried to get an overall sense of the author's perspective and style of expression. She often subtly marks a grid or framework of time and space before deftly splashing it with images, bright with color. For example, "I could leave tonight, leave this house to find him… I saw a solitary biplane enter the warbling sun. I saw yellow in the sky's far corners…" The sun is a frequent image as is the red spectrum. A poem can be much like a mosaic of nearly balanced elements as I have depicted on the cover of this lovely book of poetry.

About the Artist: A master of traditional fine bookbinding, Scott Kellar has been working intimately with books for over 40 years. Introduced to bookbinding as a hobby in 1972, his commitment to the craft was immediate. While pursuing a career in book conservation, Scott’s love of books expanded into the realm of design binding, where the art of the binder becomes integral to the book, adding yet another layer of imagery and interpretation to the work of the author. As a result, his artistic works have been featured in book art exhibition venues local, national and international. Awards won include the "Coup De Coeur" award at the Biennale Mondiale de la Reliure D’Art, The Society of Bookbinders Award for Forwarding and the Fine Binding J. Hewit & Sons Ltd. Award. His studio in located in Chicago where he also teaches to share both his skills and vision.

Condition Report

Star iconVery Good
Like New

Minimal wear consistent with age and use.


Height: 10.25 inches / 26.04 cm
Width: 7 inches / 17.78 cm






Childrens, Illustrated, Poetry, Fine bindings

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