Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The King's Speech, Eric Gill Notes on Postage Stamps, The Coronation Stamp, A New Book From Kat Ran Press

The movie, The King's Speech, winner of 7 BAFTA awards and nominated for 12 Academy Awards is sure to become a film classic.  It is a fabulous film and deserving of all awards to follow.  The story of King George VI and his struggle to overcome a persistent stammer, supported by his devoted wife, the future Queen Mother, and his therapist and commoner friend, Lionel Loque is story all should experience.

While I love the movies and particularly enjoyed The King's Speech, at heart I am a book junkie and always figure that to memorialize anything, be it film, place, era, person, object, I need to add a book to my library.  In this case the film has no directly associated book being based on an original screenplay.  While I'm certain that there are collectible books about King George VI who rose to the throne after his older brother abdicated to become a beloved King and England's national backbone during the dark years of World War II and father to the current Queen Elizabeth, I have no burning desire to add one to my collection.  Nor do I want to step into the mad world of film memorabilia collecting, all I want is a special book that will always remind me of The King's Speech! 

Cover, Eric Gill Notes on Postage Stamps, Kat Ran Press, 2011.  Rejected design of the Coronation Stamp for King George VI and Elizabeth, Designed by Eric Gill

Desire and opportunity meet in the just released, Eric Gill Notes on Postage Stamps, afterword by Michael Russen, Kat Ran Press, Cambridge, MA (buy a copy via Kat Ran Press is primarily a book design firm with some original publishing activities and has published 12 books uder the Kat Ran Press imprint.  Eric Gill Notes on Postage Stamps is their most recent release and a title in the series, Kat Ran Essays on Philatelics.  The book itself is paperback, 24 pages, 8 x 9, with 56 full color illustrations, design and typography by Michael Russen, composed in Gill Sans Pro type, printed and bound at Acme Bookbinding, Charlestown, Ma

The content includes a lecture essay written in 1940 by noted 20th century type and book designer Eric Gill (deserving of a separate post)  concerning the design of stamps, which he disliked, and an afterword by the publisher, Michael Russen, locating Gill within the stamp design tradition.  While Gill was extremely successful as a type and book designer, he was not very successful in the stamp design game.  His designs for the Coronation Stamp for King George VI were all rejected!  I'd love to collect books designed by Eric Gill but they are way out of my price range.  This gem is a great addition to my library and will always remind me of The King's Speech and the story of King George VI.  I purchased the regular edition and was lucky enough to be one of the first 100 buyers and received along with the book, a canceled Eric Gill stamp.  There will be a deluxe edition, hand bound by Sarah Creighton which will include 15 mint stamps designed by Eric Gill available in April.

Great Britain. 1937
  King George VI and National Emblems
  Typography by Eric Gill
  Portrait by Edmund Dulac

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