Artifex: Leonard Baskin and the Gehenna Press

Introduction

The early years of Gehenna Press

Baskin & Hughes

An Architect of the Page

“Of the making of books…”

Icones

Demons

Diptera

Honoring James Baldwin

The Oresteia

Capriccio

Sibyls

Baskin & Hughes : A Primer of Birds

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Between 1974 and 1983, the Baskin family lived in Lurley, in Devon, England, where Ted Hughes and his family were also living. Although he had given his printing equipment to Harold McGrath, his printer in Northampton, with every intention of taking a hiatus from printing, Baskin managed to acquire printing equipment in England. There, the two artists collaborated on their first Gehenna Press project in fifteen years. Baskin illustrated Hughes’s book, A Primer of Birds, with woodcuts.

Here, a series of three images depicts the evolution of the colophon page. Baskin has combined the crow and pomegranate, two symbols for the Gehenna Press, into a press mark. Baskin’s interest in birds, particularly raptors and other predatory birds, is evident throughout his artistic oeuvre.

Leonard Baskin. Sketch for colophon page of A Primer of Birds, 1981.

Collection of Lisa Unger Baskin, Courtesy Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York.

Proof for colophon page of A Primer of Birds, 1981.

Collection of Lisa Unger Baskin, Courtesy Salander-O’Reilly Galleries, New York.

Published colophon page. Ted Hughes. A Primer of Birds. Woodcut by Leonard Baskin. Gehenna Press, 1981.