Arion Lyre

99. Animal Farm, the novel by George Orwell, with an introduction by the historian Peter Stansky, illustrated by Jonathan Hammer.

Animal Farm, the novel by George Orwell, with an introduction by the historian Peter Stansky, twenty-four prints by the artist Jonathan Hammer, and an extra suite of the prints, hand-colored, December 2013.

George Orwell was the wintry conscience not only for England, but for much of the world through his two most influential books Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).  In Animal Farm, the farm animals rebel against their subjugation and drive out the farmer and his wife. The pigs take charge, and one of them, named Napoleon, becomes dictator. As the Stanford University historian Peter Stansky writes in his introduction, “Orwell is a writer of extraordinary power and this may be his greatest masterpiece, a perfect text. As a fable about human nature it transcends the political era in which it was written. It is in so many ways a despairing book, but it has such compassion and empathy. In the end, there is still a glimmer that possibly some day we might create a better and more equal society.”

THE AUTHOR

George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in 1903 in India, where his father was a civil servant supervising the opium trade. He returned to England in 1927 and dedicated himself to being a writer, eventually adopting the pseudonym of George Orwell, and publishing his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London, in 1933. Soon after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Orwell went to Spain as a reporter and joined the militia of a semi-Trotskyite group, the poum. Orwell’s ideas about how the socialist revolution was betrayed by the Communists are the basis for his fable Animal Farm, published in 1945. It was the work that made him internationally famous. His novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, has a similar theme. The book made permanent contributions to the language, such as Big Brother, the Thought Police, and two plus two equals five, and has special relevance to government surveillance as practiced today. Orwell died in 1950 of tuberculosis.

THE ARTIST

Print by Jonathan HammerJonathan Hammer was born in 1960 in Chicago and currently lives and works in the Spanish village of Laguarres. He graduated from Bard College and studied bookbinding at the London College of Printing. For a time, when he lived in San Francisco, he worked at Arion Press as a bookbinder. Then he went on to fame and fortune as an artist in many media.  Hammer has had more than forty one-person exhibitions (including five at the Matthew Marks Gallery). An authority on Zurich Dada, Hammer has published his critical writings on the subject in his book Ball and Hammer, Yale University Press, 2002.

ARTIST’S NOTE

I live in a Spanish village of twenty-eight human inhabitants, many pigs, about a thousand sheep, and countless chickens. There was once an ass; he was euthanized when he was too old to work. Laguarres has two streets, but I count at least four distinct barrios and five cliques. Divisions from the Civil War still run deep. Spanish friends laugh when we tell them where we live. La Guarra is slang for a filthy sow. Read the compete text of Hammer’s Artist’s Note.

THE BOOK

The Arion Press edition of Animal Farm is large octavo in format, 10-1/8 by 7-1/2 inches, of 156 numbered text pages, plus 24 unnumbered leaves for the illustrations, for a total of 204 pages. The type is Times New Roman in Monotype, with display sizes set by hand. It was printed by letterpress on Zerkall ivory book, a German mouldmade paper. The 24 relief prints are printed by letterpress from polymer plates made from films scratched by the artist with an etching needle for the black images, with photo-polymer plates made from overlay drawings in pencil for the red tints. The binding is three-piece cloth, with a maroon spine and ochre sides, imprinted with images of the gate of Manor Farm on the back and the gate of Animal Farm on the front, with the same materials used for the slipcase.

THE EXTRA SUITE OF PRINTS

The 24 relief prints in the book are offered as an extra suite of prints on larger sheets of Zerkall natural white, 15 by 12-1/2 inches, in a heavier weight than the paper for the book. Whereas the prints in the book are printed in black with red tints, the prints in the extra suite are entirely hand-colored in watercolors for the red tints with various second colors for the accessories. The suites are presented in a cloth-covered portfolio with titling label on the front. The prints are sold only as a complete set, with a copy of the book. They are signed by the artist and numbered, and are suitable for framing.

THE EDITION, PRICE, AND ORDERING

This is the ninety-ninth publication of the Arion Press. The book edition is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale and 26 lettered copies for complimentary distribution to participants in the project. Of these, 30 copies are accompanied by the extra suite of 24 hand-colored prints, of which 30 are for sale, numbered 1/30 – 30/30; 5 are artist proofs, numbered AP 1/5 – AP 5/5; and 5 are printer’s proofs, numbered PP 1/5 – PP 5/5. All of the books and the prints in the suites are signed by the artist.

The price of the book is $600. The book with the extra suite of prints is $5,400. Available.

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On January 2, 2014 the Arion Press held a publication party for Animal Farm. Here is some footage from that event: artist Jonathan Hammer speaks briefly about his illustrations for the Arion Press edition, followed by a discussion between historians Adam Hochschild and Peter Stansky, who talk about the Spanish Civil War and its relationship to the Orwell story. Also seen in the video are Arion Press publisher Andrew Hoyem and Arion Press editor Diana Ketcham.

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Edition: Large octavo in format, 156 numbered text pages, plus 24 unnumbered leaves for the illustrations, printed by letterpress on Zerkall ivory book. The 24 images are are relief prints in black and red. The binding and slipcase are three-piece cloth, edition of 300, numbered and signed. The price of the book is $600.

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Purchase the book securely online now:


Portfolio: The 24 relief prints in the book are offered as an extra suite of prints on larger sheets, 15 by 12-1/2 inches. The prints in the extra suite are entirely hand-colored in watercolors for the red tints with various second colors for the accessories. The suites are presented in a cloth-covered portfolio, sold with a copy of the book. They are signed by the artist and numbered, edition of 30, $5,400 with book.

Reserve the suite and/or book and pay offline (checks preferred):

Reserve your copy


View gallery of images.

Read Jonathan Hammer's Artist's Note about Animal Farm.

View the complete prospectus in PDF format.

George Orwell

Watch a video on YouTube of the Animal Farm Publication Party, featuring artist Jonathan Hammer and historians Adam Hochschild and Peter Stansky.