Don’t Look Now & Other Stories

Don’t Look Now & Other Stories
By Daphne du Maurier

Folio Society 2007
Illustrations by Helen Smithson
Bound 2008
235 x 165 x 38mm
Folio Society 2nd Prize for the Set Book
Sold. Private Collection.


Unsupported link stitch with a Fraynot hinge attachment. Full fair goatskin painted with leather dyes and foil tooled. Double silk end-bands. Text block edges decorated with a reverse transfer technique and acrylic paint. Leather joints. Flyleaves and edge-to-edge doublures printed with oil based inks using a soft plate offset technique. 

I was inspired by the titular tale. I found it to be incredibly eerie and unsettling. The mysteriousness of the story draws you in. How can one convey that into a design for a binding? I wanted the design to have that feeling without being literal.

I turned to artists whose paintings had had a similar effect on me. Artists like Edvard Munch, Howard Hodgkin and Mark Rothko. Their canvases are often saturated with paint. The depth of their colours always draws me in.

I needed to begin with a basic structure. I drew a series of rough pencil sketches of Venetian streets; loose with scratchy lines. The chosen composition was then transferred onto my pared skin, this created the framework for the application of leather dyes. I too saturated my “canvas”, carefully playing with colours and layers to achieve a sense ominosity.