distilled from the pages of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare chiaroscuro woodcuts by Chris Nurse

The somewhat irreverent decision to make a book out of just the 'play within a play' so that the 'rude mechanicals' could literally take centre stage, has here given rise to a suite of masterly relief prints. In a recent essay about the work of Chris Nurse, Ann Jones, a curator at the Hayward Gallery wrote, of these images: They are, however, not really illustrations in the conventional sense. Although they are clearly inspired by the richness of the text, like the best artists' books, they capture a parallel vision. They convey the atmosphere and complexity of the written word, rather than illustrating it literally.

Chris Nurse writes: The project draws together many earlier preoccupations and influences; the tradition of the grotesque, carnival and folkloric rites that make light of sex and death. It is always preferable to first learn of death through the loss of a guinea pig or goldfish.

Editions & Inscriptions

Copies of the Main Edition are Numbered and signed by the artist.

The type is Bulmer. The paper is 250gsm Somerset Printmaking. All the images, single- and two-colour, are woodcuts by Chris Nurse and were printed from the wood. The book is half-bound in brown leather with heavy boards covered with printed papers with designs by the artist. Further designs, together with titling, are blind-blocked on the leather.

Pyramus and Thisbe

Published in 2004

64 pp.

250 x 280 mm

Editions & Availability

160 copies were printed of the Main Edition and copies are available to buy at £355 each.

ISBN: 978-0-907664-63-5


Special Editions are not available.

Purchase Enquiry

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Media Notes

Chiaroscuro Woodcut