SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 116
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER
PHILLIPS (TOM, translator and illustrator) The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, NUMBER 3 OF 17 SPECIAL COPIES, 1983

Sold for £ 8,925 (US$ 12,265) inc. premium
THE REMAINING BOOKBINDINGS OF PHILIP SMITH (1928-2018)

Sold on behalf of his executors
SMITH (PHILIP)
PHILLIPS (TOM, translator and illustrator) The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", SIGNED BY THE ARTIST ON THE COLOPHON, from an overall edition of 185 copies, 140 plates comprising etchings, lithographs, screenprints and mixed media, each initialled by the artist, binder's notes tipped-in at rear of each volume, bound by Philip Smith in full black, black and red, and 2 shades of red goatskin respectively, the covers and spines with overall designs of impasto modelling in various colours using emulsified maril layers and leather onlays with the application of acrylic paint, coloured rough-trimmed edges and press stud leather clasps to match the binding, the three volumes joining to make a large book wall when mounted vertically, the front covers forming an image of a tall grotesque male figure with inset figures and scenes, the rear covers forming a last judgement vertical tryptich, housed in a three-part UV perspex case, folio (each volume 425 x 325mm., overall dimensions when assembled in perspex case 1345 x 380mm.), Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base, with compartments for storing the volumes and/or the packaging (the back of the cabinet door with printed instructions for storage and assembly), and a stained oak trellised tower made by Adrian Jones to Philip Smith's design for an alternative method of display

Footnotes

  • "A RARE SYNTHESIS OF TWO WORKING, LIVING GENIUSES": PHILIP SMITH'S SPECTACULAR TRIPTYCH DESIGN ON ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ARTIST'S BOOKS OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.

    Philip Smith first developed the concept of the "book wall" in the late 1960s, with images on each volume flowing on to the covers of the adjacent books, but at the same time forming integral individual images. His versions of Lord of the Rings are the best known examples: in 1973, he and Tolkien were invited at the Craftsman's Art Exhibition to present a set to the Duke of Edinburgh, and in 2003 a monumental wall of 21 volumes was sold at auction for £130,000. The design for the Dante tower structure was drawn up in 1984, but work on the first volume was only begun properly in 1991. Three years later it was completed and exhibited at the British Library. The remaining two volumes were designed in 1999 and completed a year later. The work can be displayed in three separate volumes, or erected vertically to form a contiguous tower using an elaborate three-part perspex case (all parts and instructions supplied).

    "It is to my mind a rare synthesis of two working, living geniuses giving visual form to a remarkable poem... This extraordinary work is unique in vision and skill... I believe their like will never be equalled" (Timothy C. Ely, in 'Designer Bookbinders newsletter', no. 185, Spring 2019). For his illustration and for providing a new translation of the Inferno, Phillips received the Frances Williams Memorial Prize in 1983, the LA Times writing "there is no doubt that Tom Phillips has captured Dante for our time".

    Exhibited: British Library 1994; Designer Bookbinding 2000-2001.
Contacts
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
SMITH (PHILIP) BOOK TOWER: The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. Inferno. A Verse Translation by Tom Phillips with Images & Commentary, bound in 3 vol., NUMBER 3 OF THE "SPECIAL COPIES FOR FINE BINDING HC 1-17", Talfourd Press, 1983; together with a large wooden cabinet base,  and a stained oak trellised tower
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from VAT

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.

App