ONE OF 185 COPIES SIGNED BY GEORGE MACKAY BROWN
BROWN, George Mackay and Rosemary ROBERTS (artist). The Lost Village. Poems. Collingham, Wetherby: The Celtic Cross Press, 1992.
Octavo (213 x 149mm), pp. [2 (blank l.)], [6 (title, other works by Brown published by the press and copyright statements, contents, verso blank, preface, dedication)], [20 (text)], [2 (colophon, verso blank)], [2 (blank l.)]. Title-vignette, 20 illustrations in the text, and press-device on colophon, by and after Roberts, all printed in light-brown. Original brown cloth backed light-brown cloth boards by The Fine Bindery, upper board repeating title-vignette in gilt, spine lettered in gilt, light-green endpapers, top edges cut, others uncut and retaining deckles. A fine copy.
First edition, no. 171 of 185 copies signed by Brown. ‘A few years ago someone sent me a copy of Picasso’s dove of peace. It seemed a beautiful and powerful image. A nuclear war is so unthinkable that I wondered if it was possible to write a group of verse equivalents of Picasso’s dove. I imagined a village in a fold of some remote range of mountains – the Pyrenees or the Caucasus or the Himalayas – where the remnants of a people ravaged by war have been settled for centuries. There, they live very much like villagers the world over, except that the “heroism” and “romance” of war are, for them, taboo subjects. Can “the global village” come to inherit the innocent joys and sorrows of our lost village among the mountains? It is a dream. May the nations of earth wake up and find that the dream is true’ (preface).
The Celtic Cross Press was established in 1984 in Collingham, West Yorkshire, by the artist and printer Rosemary Roberts, and issued a series of some twenty-five volumes of poetry and short prose over the following four decades. Most were illustrated by Roberts, who also typeset the Press’ publications and printed them. The writers published by The Celtic Cross Press often drew their inspiration from religious subjects, and they included the celebrated Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown (1921-1996), whose first collection, The Storm, and Other Poems, was published at the author’s own expense by the Orkney Press in an edition of 300 copies. His publications over the following forty years appeared under the imprints of both major publishers and private presses. The Celtic Cross Press was the most significant of the latter, and published fourteen titles (both poetry and prose) by Brown between 1989 and 2013.
In George Mackay Brown’s The Lost Village, Picasso’s dove is echoed in Roberts’ title-vignette, which is repeated on the upper board of the binding. The Lost Village was set in Centaur and printed by the Celtic Cross Press on Zerkall paper.
William S. Peterson, ‘George Mackay Brown. A Bibliographical Study of a Twentieth-Century Orkney Writer’ (https://gmbbibliography.wordpress.com), s.v.
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