Sir Hornbook

It’s been a while since I posted about one of my early books. Sir Hornbook was created for a local book arts guild swap in 2006. The structure assigned for the swap was “scroll”, which I didn’t find very exciting so I decided to put a bit of a twist on it.

The scroll was an early structure used to record information, abandoned for the conveniences of the codex. The codex is easier to store, and easier to use since one can flip back and forth easily between different sections of a book. With digital technology we have returned to using the scroll, and unless people do extra work and put in linkable markers for sections, one has to scroll up and down through on-line documents to find specific content.

I decided I would make a digital scroll for the swap.

I had recently discovered (and been delighted by) the works of Thomas Love Peacock. My favourite poem of his is The War Song of Dinas-Vawr with its cheerfully rousing bloodthirstiness, but because I like alphabets and because it is very long and therefor requires a lot of scrolling, I chose Peacock’s poem Sir Hornbook.

The image above was the cover insert for the CD case and was created from a scanned William Morris illustration. The text was downloaded off the internet, re-formatted, set in Engraver’s Old English BT with drop caps created based on initials scanned from a Dover book of alphabets.

Each copy for the swap consisted of a jewel case containing a cover page and a CD of the poem.

Sometimes I think people don’t fully appreciate my sense of humour. If you do, and wish to make you own copy, here are downloadable links to a 2-up version of the cover (you can make a second copy for a friend) and a pdf of the text. Burn the text onto a CD, print the cover and trim to fit the jewel case, insert CD and cover into case, and you have your very own digital scroll.

If you would rather just enjoy the poem in a more reader friendly font (and with explanatory footnotes), you can find it here.

Since I did recognise that not everyone would be thrilled by a digital scroll, and might fail to realise the amount of work that had gone into producing it, I hand lettered a second book for everyone. The text was The Inchworm by Frank Loesser.

Two and two are four.
Four and four are eight.
Eight and eight are sixteen.
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two.

Inch worm, inch worm,
Measuring the marigolds.
You and your arithmetic
You’ll probably go far.

Inch worm, inch worm,
Measuring the marigolds.
Seems to me you’d stop and see
How beautiful they are.

Unfortunately, some people didn’t seem to be pleased by this one either.

You can easily make your own copy of this book as well. You will need a cheap re-winding measuring tape (probably from a dollar store), a couple of Sharpies, and a little time for copying out the lyrics.

Merry Christmas 2016!


About Byopia Press

I have been working in the book arts field for more than twenty years, and operating Byopia Press with my husband David since the late 1990s. I began producing artist's books and altered books in 2004.
This entry was posted in artist's books, book arts, Design, free printable, instructions, typography and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Sir Hornbook

  1. lcmt says:

    I can’t believe some people! The inch worm scroll is brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wendyfe says:

    Merry Christmas, Cathryn, and every blessing in the New Year. I love your sense of humour! Adore the scroll books…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susanne Scott says:

    You are quite creative! Enjoy the New Year!


  4. Andrea Penn says:

    Cathryn, I think humor is really important, especially in these trying times. And if you can give someone a smile, there is no more precious gift. I hope your holiday season is filled with them.


  5. Auntie Brenda says:

    Love the “Inchworm” and can’t wait to find a yard stick upon which to print the words, then make a worm fingerpuppet to point to words at tiny tots storytime, Mahalo!


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