Cultivators of Artifice

(8.5 x 12 in., 96 pp. + approx. 140 sample leaves, edition of 30 numbered copies w/ 6 A.P.)

For its debut publication, Byzantium presents Paper Botanists, a new book from the authors of Folding Paper and The WunderCabinet. Here the duo direct their distinctive talents for combining historic material with their own creations to explore the connections between paper and botanical arts.

The focus of Paper Botanists is on how plants have been historically represented by artists who struggled to capture realism while aiming for an aesthetic ideal. These artists, some if whom were also botanists, carefully studied all parts of the plants they portrayed, striving to accurately depict the tiniest filament, the faintest vein and the most minuscule seeds, not to mention the visible characteristics that would allow anyone, anywhere, to identify the plant and cultivate it appropriately.

As in their previous books, explanatory text accompanies extensive imagery in a format that celebrates fine press traditions. There is also a comprehensive bibliography. Illustrations will include drawings, nature prints, woodcuts, engravings, etchings, lithographs, photographs, marbling and papercuttings, among others, both culled from broken volumes of botanical texts from the last 350 years, and specially created by the authors for this book.

The text is set in Fournier, printed with a handpress on dampened Arches at Heavenly Monkey. As usual with their books, extensive handwork will be done after printing is completed. The book — with approximately 140 original herbaria, drawings and prints — will be issued in two states, both bound and boxed by Claudia.

Copies 1 — 10 (and A.P. I — III) will be extra-bound in full gilt-tooled leather, and issued with an additional portfolio of scarcer historical samples. Fully subscribed

Copies 11 — 30 (and A.P. IV — VI) will be bound in quarter leather with Claudia’s paste papers over boards, with gilt tooling and leather fore edges, and with an additional portfolio of oversize images.

Scheduled for publication in late Spring 2022, Paper Botanists is the first of the authors’ collaborations to be published by Byzantium, an imprint established by Barbara in 1995, for trade book publications. For further details please write to Barbara Hodgson (vesalius[at]pacificcoast.net).