A Blue Book of Conversation
A Blue Book of Conversation

BANTING, John. A Blue Book of Conversation.

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BANTING, John A Blue Book of Conversation London: Editions Poetry, Nicholas and Watson, 1946.

Large 4to., blue cloth lettered in gilt to spine; decorative yellow dust jacket (10s. Net); pp. [vi], v, [i], 7-57, [i]; with title and a further 25 full-page illustrations, one double-page, all printed in blue; a lovely copy, with a few finger marks and white faded spots encroaching down from the upper edge of both boards, now expertly restored to colour; the fragile dust jacket shelf-soiled, and nicks to edges, and some larger chips, particularly along spine, with approx. 2cm loss to foot, and one small hole to three-quarters of the way up; still a good example of a delicate work, scarce in the jacket.
First edition, inscribed by the author to the front free endpaper: "To Richard/ from John/ February 1948/ (It's all right, hold tight, you are not one of my victims in this book-[een]?" The prints had been previously published as 'For Social Service' in a limited edition of 10 copies in 1933.
A collection of satyrical sketches from John Banting, writing and drawing just after the end of the Second World War. Banting was highly influenced by the Vorticism movement at the age of 18, and by 1925 had established his own studio in Fitzroy Street. His associations with the Bloomsbury group led him to design for both Leonard and Virginia Woolf's Hogarth Press, and by 1930 he had moved closer to the realm of Surrealism, contributing to the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme (Paris, Feb. 1938) through Marcel Duchamp's invitation.
Dominated by characters including Colonel Molars, Mrs Thornback, Lady Pounce and Mr. Lapelle-Patel-Bullshire, each drawing and accompanying passage of text are a mocking social comment on upper-class life, the illustrations drawing inspiration from "primal life, insects and their larvae fossils, leaves, amoebas, skulls etc. With these he depicts only too well the manners and attitudes of his lords and their ladies".