Ragworm

HUGHES, Ted. Ragworm.

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HUGHES, Ted Ragworm [1998].

Autograph manuscript poem (17 x 18cm approx) handwritten in ink on handmade paper, signed by the author at foot; together with a pen, brown ink and wash illustration to the poem (13.5 x 17cm approx) on handmade paper by Reg Lloyd, signed and dated to the centre and right; mounted together, framed and glazed (37 x 62.5cm approx); with previous exhibition labels to the reverse; no obvious defects.
The exhibition label to the reverse states that this illustration and poem was intented for page 14 of The Mermaid's Purse, published in May 1993 by the Sunstone Press in an edition of 100 copies only. It was exhibited at the Shell House gallery, Ledbury Poetry Festival and exhibition in 1997, and numbered 9.
Hughes and Lloyd met through a mutual friend, and quickly found common ground in childhood memories of a shop bell ringing: Reg’s parents had owned a drapers shop and Ted’s parents had been newsagents. They went on to produce a large number of books in collaboration, including What is the Truth?, The Cat and the Cuckoo, and Earth Dances. A Mermaid's Purse (sometimes also know as a Devil's Purse) is the collagenous egg-case which surrounds the fertilized eggs of some sharks, dolphins, skate, and an ancient order of fish known as 'Chimera'. The empty cases are frequently washed up on beaches, and the title was apt for this new book which was to be all about things which are found in or by the sea. The Independent chose it as their 'Book of the Week' and the whole edition of 100 books was sold within twenty-four hours.

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