For a week or so in 1991, Rigby Graham was staying with us during the printing of his monumental book Kippers & Sawdust, helping me with the (to me utterly new and absolutely terrifying) arts of printing colour woodcuts. “Spread it on like strawberry jam” was his advice as to how much ink to put on the inking roller!
For a few minutes before lunch one day he disappeared into the garden (always en plein air with Rigby!) and returned having made this delicious drawing which he gave to us. I had a line block made of it, at reduced size, and it was used in the book (see below).
At various times during intervening years, I had half-heartedly looked for the original but was never able to lay my hands on it. Suddenly, a few days ago, when looking for something else (naturally!), I was thrilled to see it peering out at me from one of the drawers of ‘important stuff’ that serves as my filing system – more deep litter than curated system.
I immediately sought to frame it – so it would be harder to lose in the future.
In Kippers & Sawdust the drawing appears on the colophon page . . . along with another drawing by Rigby. Knowing that we were wont to print, on many colophon pages, the image of the ‘old stile’ that Robin Tanner had made for us, Rigby said that he did not think that pretty one was suitable for this book. Instead, he would draw a picture of a really ugly metal stile (situated near his home in Leicestershire) which would be much more suitable.
Finally, here is another tale of Robin & Heather Tanner – also in the ‘lost and found’ department. Soon after we had met them, the Tanners were working on their book Woodland Plants which was published by Robin Garton in 1981. This is a beautiful book based on hundreds of drawings made by Robin with pen and ink.
They told us that the drawings were done very many years before but the folder containing them had ‘disappeared’. Twenty or so years went by and suddenly they discovered them – under their bed! They realized that the folder must have been put there by a family member whose idea of ‘tidying-up’ was more drastic than theirs! At the time I found it rather hard to believe such a story. Now I have no difficulty whatsoever!