The Noble Knight Paris and Fair Vienne

  • Translated from the French by William Caxon
  • Allen Press, Kentfield, Calif, 1956
  • Book: 280mm x 205mm x 20mm
  • Box: 293mm x 235mm x 45mm
  • Bound in 2017
  • Private Collection, UK

Full leather binding bound in pink/purple goatskin.
Across the cover are a variety of coloured leather onlays.
Detail is added to these onlays with different embroidery stitches using coloured threads.
Blind, carbon and gold tooling is applied over the whole book using hand-made finishing tools and palettes.
The endpapers have been decorated in a grid pattern using a linocut stamp.
One of the flowers on each doublure is backed with gold leaf laminated to Japanese paper.
The box is made of ebony with a book-matched wooden lid and base.
The lid has been decorated with laser-cut laminate in the shape of fleur-de-lis, with one extra made from gold-plated brass
There is a mini jousting pole made to hold the box together.
Inspiration for the design
The book is a romance of thirteenth-century France which was regarded as the most popular story of medieval times. I was taken by the idea of Paris the Knight jousting against his rivals for the admiration of Vienne who stands in the doorway to her castle watching them. The shape of both Vienne and the castle are taken from the woodblock prints within the text block. In the story Paris bore no arms on his shield therefore I decided to depict him with a plain white shield.
The woodblock prints were also my inspiration for the endpapers and doublures. I used the leaf and floral elements from the illustrated vines to carve a lino stamp, much larger than the originals, which I then repeat printed in grid-like fashion.