Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Sir Patrick Spens and other Ballads takes shape.

The Folio edition of Sir Patrick Spens. A charming single section text block measuring 11cm x 8cm, with engravings by Jane Lydbury.

The main ballad is of a sad tale of a sea Captain who leaves the shores of Scotland to collect a child Princess from Norway in about 1290.

There are a number of versions but all follow a similar path. The King of Scotland asks the best sailor in the Kingdom (Sir Patrick Spens) to sail a ship to Norway to bring home the Maid of Norway, a seven year old Princess. Spens agrees but is worried as he has to set sail in mid winter.

It is believed that Spens did reach Norway, collected the Princess but was engulfed by a storm. The ship, with all hands, sank.

As I have said there are a number of versions. However, having been on a small fishing boat, in the North Sea, in winter, even on a mild day, I find it easy to imagine what perils brought Spens to his untimely demise.

The back board, showing small cold gold panels (tiles) with a worn, sail like panel that traverses the back board and the spine area of the book.

The back of the sail panel and the, as yet, unfinished front board. The tiles are a reference to the brightly coloured Pallians (tents) golden masts we read of in the other ballads and the destruction of Spens ship.

The front and back end papers, turbulent waves.

Detail of the rear tiles and the sail panel.

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