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 The Witch's Ballad   by William Bell Scott

2 1/2" x 1 3/4"
76 pages, 24 illustrations, 7 pressed flowers, and one enclosure
Limited to 25 copies

O, I hae come from far away,
From a warm land far away,
A southern land across the sea,
With sailor-lads about the mast,
Merry and canny, and kind to me.

Four witches come to a market town to sell enchanted poultry and look for husbands Scott was a Victorian poet and painter close to the Pre Raphaelites, and The Witch's Ballad might be an evocation of a painting in that style. I decided to combine the pre-Raphaelite love of the medieval with the poem’s sightly Elizabethan tone and the Jacobean interest in witches and Holbein’s Dance of Death Alphabet to come up with this: a pastiche of an antique book.

The design of the title page comes from a book by Albrecht Durer. Each verse is illustrated with a letter from Holbein's alphabet, and the versos show the bleed-through from the preceding page on antiqued paper. The brown  leather binding had raised bands and a chain-and-clasp closure, all in the 'antique' style.

The text of the poem and its binding tell the witch's story. I wanted the book itself to tell another story, that of its readers. Whose book was this? I imagined finding the book in a used bookstore with all the former owner’s marks on it. Her picture came clearly into my mind: she’d used the book as a flower-press since she was reading it outdoors, Elphine-like, and was using as a bookmark a postcard she’d bought at a museum – Alice Boyd’s The Witches Going To Market. which was based on the poem.

This product was added to our catalog  May 31, 2013