PEAR TREE PRESS - GUTHRIE, James and Betty BUNN. Original watercolours, mock-ups, and letters, regarding the production of "The Wild Garden" and other material. Pear Tree Press. 1948-1951.
A striking "rough" watercolour design (circa 274 x 1909mm), on laid card, by Betty Bunn, for the cover or dustwrapper of a planned edition of The Wild Garden by James Guthrie and his Pear Tree Press, executed in Art Nouveau style with the artist's name and address, in her hand, to the reverse, together with another watercolour design on rough paper for the title and frontispiece of the book (circa 225 x 142mm), vertically folded, also with a finely exectured design for the upper cover in watercolour (circa 102 x 151mm) on laid card mounted on larger cream card alongside a very sketchy watercolour trial for the same, with other original artwork by Betty Bunn which might relate to this publication, or another, including 4 other small and tender watercolours of children, all painted on artist's card (each signed with initials on the reverse, with the date '48), a larger atmostpheric watercolour (circa 130 x 170mm), again signed with initials "B.B." entitled "Village", and 4 other small, and well-executed, drawings of children, in bold black line, 2 handpainted, including one colophon, all signed or with the artist's details on the reverse in her hand.
Sold together with 4 long autograph letters signed, and one card, by the founder of the Pear Tree Press, James Guthrie, to the artist Betty Bunn, discussing their collaboration on The Wild Garden and referring to technical details, paper shortages and frustrations with printers, among much else.
Born in Glasgow, the Scotsman James Guthrie (1874-1952), artist, typographer and printer, was the respected founder of The Pear Tree Press. It was conceived when Guthrie was living at Pear Tree Cottage in Ingrave, Essex, but was later moved to Shorne in Kent, then Harting in Sussex, before setling at Flansham near Bognor Regis, Sussex, in 1907. Given the fashion of the period it is surprising that Guthrie was not inspired so much by William Morris as by William Blake, a man who assumed control of all aspects of his operation at an artisan level
The Wild Garden, a book of children's verse, was first published by the press in 1924, in a limited edition of 100 copies with designs by Guthrie and signed by the author, so it would seem that the original artwork commissioned here was for a planned reprinting which was never published. Betty Bunn had been a student at the Slade and was a personal friend of Guthrie. She worked on other titles for the press.