Honey Tree Press
~ New Jersey
(Mukti Nurya Cerio)


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Mukti Nurya Cerio: "My work is molded by my life and each one of these books represents a different part of it. "
Angelus in Domus
By Mukti Nurya Cerio
New York: Honey Tree Press, 2012. Edition of 40.

4 x 6.25"; 158 pages. Printed in the spring of 2012 at the Center for Book Arts in New York. Printed in Centaur and Dearest fonts on Johannot paper using polymer plates. An edition of 40: 30 standard in red cloth-covered boards and 10 deluxe bound in embroidered covers. Laid in four-fold paper portfolio with slip and slot closure.

"The Angel in the House," a narrative poem by Coventry Patmore first published in 1854, was seen by many Victorians to draw a portrait of the ideal woman. Mukti Cerio begs to differ.

Mukti Cerio: "There exists a romantic vision of the Victorians that has taken root in our generation, but this vision hides a far more nefarious time in history. Beyond the well-mannered parlors of the English country home lay a quagmire of filth, iniquity, and sorrow. Disease was rampant, poverty was almost all pervasive, and the explosion of the Industrial Revolution meant that most English laborers spent from dawn till dusk toiling in factories and below the earth in the blackness of the mines. To be poor in Victorian England was a grueling march to death, which included few daily pleasures and almost no respite.

"If this was the life of the English working class, it is inconceivable to contemplate the life of women during this period. If you were lucky enough to be born into a good family your sole purpose in life was to be wed to a suitable husband. Once married, women lost all their land, wealth, and titles and became the property of their husbands; and these unfortunate women were the lucky ones. Consider the countless women who were unable to marry? They quickly joined an invisible class of unwanted old maids who took their place at the edge of the ballroom. They had no home, no income, no status, and worst of all they were blamed for their condition as if it was a choice rather than an infliction. And behind every well-bred young lady, and every kitchen maid, beside every governess, and every matchstick girl, stood the Angel in the House like a ghostly reminder of their own imperfection.

Angelus in Domus is an artist book that contrasts Coventry Patmore's epic poem 'The Angel in the House,' against facts about women's lives in Victorian England. Patmore's poem came to symbolize the ideal that every woman was expected to bend to. His work was viewed in this manner by his contemporaries and still exists as a by line used to refer to the perfect Victorian woman. The statistical information is all derived from original sources including the 1831 and 1871 census. Throughout the book I have used silhouette images to illustrate the text, which was an art form typically practiced by women during the period. The deluxe edition of the book comes with embroidered covers, embroidery being one of the prized accomplishments of a Victorian lady."

$450 standard (Last two copies)
$550 deluxe with embroidered covers

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Page last update: 10.06.14


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