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Verdigris Press ~ France
(Mark Lintott & Judith Rothchild)

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Mark Lintott, excerpt from Emmanuel Von Baeyer Cabinet interview: “Before a project can develop, we need to agree to a format and decide how many images it might have and what techniques we may use. Judith usually completes the images before I get more involved. Then I need to choose type size, the quantity of pages etc. Although she might make suggestions, I am responsible for the final layout. The balance between text and image is essential in an artist's book. We always print the mezzotints before the text. For the letterpress, I have a choice between four presses, a couple dating back to the 19th century and well over a hundred cases of lead type. Each press has its own advantages and limitations. The Vandercook is excellent but is limited in format and thickness of paper. The Adana is a wonderful little machine, but the format is very restricted. The Stanhope and the Albion are very flexible but more difficult to set up and slow to print. When all is printed, I have the challenge of the covers, slipcases and boxes. The fact of doing everything ourselves gives us infinite options of making the project more complicated. We often decorate the papers ourselves using linocut, screenprinting, marbling or embossments.”

Ode to a chestnut on the ground
Text Pablo Neruda
Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden
Mezzotints by Judith Rothchild
[Octon, France]: Verdigris Press, 2013. Edition of 50.

4.75 x 12.5”; 17 pages. Accordion structure extending from back pastedown. Letterpress printed in Univers on an Adana 8 x 5 by Mark Lintott using chestnut-colored ink. Printed on Hahnemuhle paper. Three mezzotints by Judith Rothchild. Bound in screenprinted paper, shades of brown with chestnut leaves, over boards. Laid in matching clamshell box. Author and title printed in black on spine and box. Signed and numbered by printer and artist.

Of the edition numbers 1 – 10 include an additional mezzotint and are in a clamshell box; 1 -4 also include one of the original copper plates. Copies 11-50 presented in slipcases.

Neruda’s text is accompanied with three mezzotints by Judith Rothchild. While the text presentation is sparse and clean the images are velvety and dense. They capture the essence of Neruda’s words - “from bristly foliage” to “only a seed”.

From bristly foliage
you fell
complete, polished wood, gleaming mahogany, …

You fell,
you struck
the ground,
nothing happened, …

Because you are
a seed,
chestnut tree, autumn, earth,
water, heights, silence
prepared the germ,
the floury density,
the maternal eyelids
that buried will again
open toward the heights …

$1,500 (Copies 6 – 10) with additional mezzotint in clamshell box
$1,100 (Copies 11 – 50) in slipcase

Ode to a chestnut on the ground book
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Aux Etats-Unis d'Amerique
[To the United States of America]
Text by Victor Hugo
Illustration by Judith Rothchild
[Octon, France]: Verdigris Press, 2007. Edition of 45 (40 + 5 hors commerce).

7 7/8 x 4 5/8” page size; 14 pages. Letterpress printed. Text on Rives BFK paper. Gravure on Hahnemuhle. Bound leporello style with two accordion folds on each board. Bilingual with French text on left accordion and English translation on the recto accordion. Double page mezzotint unfolds across the middle base of the book when opened fully. Bound in brown marbled paper boards. Title bind embossed on the front board. Black cloth spine with paper title label. Black cloth spine for accordions which become the fore-edges of the book presentation. In slipcase covered in brown marbled paper, lined with black paper. Bound and printed by Mark Lintott. Numbered. Signed by Judith Rothchild on the colophon.

Verdigris Press: “This is Victor Hugo’s impassioned plea to the American public to rescind the condemnation to death by hanging of John Brown on December 16, 1859. It is addressed to the Editor of the ‘London News,’ but is clearly directed to the American people. He refers to the American Republic as the sister of the French Republic and urges her to follow universal moral law and save John Brown. The mezzotint is of a man’s feet, obviously from a hanging body, in chains.”

This open letter to the Editor was published by the press on both sides of the Atlantic.

Excerpt: “America is a noble nation. The impulse of humanity sprigs quickly into life among a free people. We may yet hope that Brown will be saved. If it were otherwise, if Brown should dies on the scaffold … what a terrible calamity!. The executioner of Brown, let us avow it openly … would be neither the attorney Hunter, nor the judge Parker, nor the Governor Wise, nor the State of Virginia; it would be, though we can scarce think or speak of it without a shudder, the whole American Republic.”

Aux Etats-Unis d'Amerique book
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12 O'Clock News
By Elizabeth Bishop
[Octon, France]: Verdigris Press, 2006. Edition of 50.

30 x 46 cm (11 ½ x 16 7/8”); 15 unnumbered leaves. Printed letterpress on Hahnemuhle paper. Mezzotints and screen-prints on the covers, slipcases and boxes, printed by the artist. Bound in the Japanese style by Mark Lintott. Original gray-green paper over boards. Paper silk-screened with yellow moon and title printed in khaki green with exposed sewing in ivory linen thread, blood red cloth hinges. Red paper spine with title printed in black with author and artist’s name. Blood red endpapers. Housed in publisher’s matching slipcase. Illustrated by Judith Rothchild. Designed by Rothschild and Lintott. Includes two original mezzotints pulled from two copper plates, one full page and the other copper plate cut into eight sections. Each of the eight plates separately re-printed and inserted in the text corresponding to the indications given by the author for a total of ten mezzotints. Text set in Vendome Romain. Printed om an 1867 Albion press by Mark Lintott.

Verdigris Press: "The date of publication, according to the artist and printer, was February 5, 2006, which was the third anniversary of Colin Powell's speech to the UN Security Council. Parts of that speech are printed in black on the blood red recto of the rear free endpaper. 12 o'clock news was originally published in Geography III in 1976.

“Elizabeth Bishop’s prose poem, certainly surreal in outlook, with a great sense of irony as well as parody, takes a look at the author’s desktop but isolating images and viewing them as minutia. The results, as detailed in Bishop’s ‘new report’ could not be any more wrong. The parallel with the American Secretary of State’s speech at the U.N. is devastatingly obvious.”

On February 5, 2003 Colin Powell was sent by the Bush administration to the UN security council to lay out evidence found by US sources that Iraqi had weapons of mass destruction. Powell as Secretary of State repeated and insisted that the claims were based on hard intelligence. In his speech he referred to several intelligence gathering reports and data. Regarding satellite images, he said “Let me say a word about satellite images before I show a couple. The photos that I am about to show you are sometimes hard for the average person to interpret, hard for me. The painstaking work of photo analysis takes experts with years and years of experience, pouring for hours and hours over light tables. But as I show you these images, I will try to capture and explain what they mean, what they indicate to our imagery specialists.”

Just as the satellite images required an “expert” to interpret them, Bishop’s desktop taken from her prose poem would be as if looking at a battlefield through satellite imagery – “From our superior vantage point, we can clearly see into a sort of dugout, possibly a shell crater, a <nest> of soldiers. They lie heaped together, wearing the camouflage <battle dress> intended for <winter warfare.> They are in hideously contorted positions, all dead. …” And, yet, what we are looking at from above is an ashtray full of spent cigarettes. Colin Powell’s UN speech has been called “a decisive moment in undermining US credibility.

12 O'Clock News book
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Page last update: 07.27.2022


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