Wednesday, 18 March 2009

In Search Of Perfection

Heston Blumenthal's latest book, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook, has a cover price of £125 and is, by all accounts, an exquisite work (I can't comment on it directly as I've not seen it: but if his publishers would like to send me a review copy I would be very grateful indeed).

I can't help feeling that Heston missed a trick here. With his obsessive attention to detail and his constant search for perfection (I love that book), he might have been better off approaching the Ivory Press to publish this particular book.

Ivory Press’s books are exquisite. Each title is an individual work of art, and is produced in a strictly limited edition. I have only ever held one of its titles in my hands and the quality of production and design was outstanding: it was in one of my favourite independent booksellers, Wenlock Books in Much Wenlock. I saw Blood on Paper: Artists and Books on a shelf and when Anna Dreda (whose shop it is) noticed me looking at it she sat me down and lifted it into my hands and the two of us gazed at it, enraptured.

I won't spoil the experience for you: go to Ivory Press's website and look at the books for yourself, and make sure to read the descriptions carefully. The books are beautiful: every single one.


Anonymous said...

I saw a copy of Heston Blumenthal's book in the Waterstones in Covent Garden and they've done a really good job, it is a beautiful tactile object and packed with gorgeous high quality photographs. It is far more than just a piece of book-art though, as, unsurprisingly, the information inside it is incredibly detailed and fascinating; you could pore over it for years and still never finish!

Jane Smith said...

Ella, I am envious. I'd love to get my hands on a copy: it looks absolutely gorgeous and I bet it even smells good too. I was hoping the price would fall as a few second-hand copies became available but if anything it's just getting more expensive. Meanwhile, here I am, reading some truly dreadful self-published books to review on my other blog (one of them gives three different spellings for the author's name...), dreaming of Mr Blumenthal's beautiful book and all of those wonderful things that Ivory Press publishes. It could drive me to drink if I wasn't there already.

Donna Hosie said...

You need to put a warning on your post about not checking out Ivory Press when you are short of time. I got sucked in and now my kids are late for school!

Those books are items of beauty.

Jane Smith said...

Donna! Aren't they GORGEOUS?

I liked the poetry collection which was engraved onto various different metals of your choice.

I've got Ivory Press's printed catalogue now. It's just wonderful. Heavy paper, lots of space, intriguing photos... lovely.

catdownunder said...

I won't look - cannot afford that sort of money (about $400 here) for one book! Do people really buy them? Are they like the handwritten mediaeval mss?