Immense; The Folio Society Celebrates 70 Years at The V&A

By Jo Phillips

We find ourselves in the midst of a digital age where information is just a touch (or swipe) away. On my daily commute, I often witness crowds of people swarming around London glued to their portable devices, whether it to be to check emails, catch up with social media or read a book, everyone seems to have their faces buried into a screen. There is a romance, of sorts, in enjoying an evening at home snuggled in bed with a cup of tea in one hand and a good book in the other. I would be as bold to suggest this as the perfect remedy to relax and unwind when you have spent your day constantly staring at a screen.

Bleak-House002Bleak House by Charles Dickens, published by The Folio Society, 1985. Illustrated by Charles Keeping (1924–88)

Reading print is a multi-sensory experience which has propelled my ever-growing collection of books, and although they take up a vast amount of space, I shall never part with them. Simply browsing for books is a pleasurable experience, and although we mustn’t judge a book by its cover, I do often find myself in search of those which have interesting art works or are a special edition. Which is why I hold books published by The Folio Society with such high regard.

Unique in both aesthetic and quality, a Folio book is an exceptional object to buy for yourself or to treat someone to. Typography, illustration, paper, printing and binding techniques come together to create a harmonious whole.

Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature pairing them with selected images or commissioned illustrations. Beautifully crafted, these imaginative editions offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages.

Hunting of the Snark 7 (1)The Hunting of the Snark. An Agony, in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll, published by The Folio Society, 1976.
Illustrated by Quentin Blake (born 1932).

Regularly awarded for the excellence of their books, most recently named as finalist in the prestigious British Book Production and Design Awards for 2017, The Folio Society will also be celebrating their 70th anniversary with an exciting display at London’s distinguished Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), one of the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance.

‘There could be no more fitting tribute to the enduring legacy of The Folio Society than this rare honour of a dedicated display at the V&A. We are delighted to have the opportunity to showcase our history and celebrate our seventieth anniversary.’
– Tom Walker, Editorial Director of The Folio Society

Hunting-of-the-Snark-8The Hunting of the Snark. An Agony, in Eight Fits by Lewis Carroll, published by The Folio Society, 1976.
Illustrated by Quentin Blake (born 1932).

The display, appropriately titled The Artful Book, looks at Folio’s past and present as the world’s foremost publisher of illustrated books. An illustrated edition of Tales by Tolstoy, was The Folio Society’s first ever published title in October 1947 and is included amongst the display, along with a selection of original artwork from The Folio Society archive, and the books for which they were commissioned.

One Hundred Years 13One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa,
published by The Folio Society, 2006. Illustrated by Neil Packer (born 1961).

With artworks by Quentin Blake, Angela Barrett, Charles Keeping and Neil Packer (to name but a few), the display includes various materials showing the history of the company as well as a dedicated reading corner inside the National Art Library where a range of titles can be enjoyed first hand!

The Artful Book runs from 5th September 2017 until 28 January 2018 at the V&A; admission is free.

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