Twelfth Night, Eric Ravilious


The Golden Cockerel Press. Twelfth Night; one of Eric Ravilious’ finest books of typographic design and wood engraving.



Twelfth Night by Eric Ravilious


This copy of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, is one of the major private press books produced by the Golden Cockerel Press in the 1930s. A beautiful book designed and illustrated by Eric Ravilious.

One of Eric Ravilious’ finest illustrated books.

In 1931 and 1932 the Golden Cockerel Press produced two of their finest books The Four Gospels, designed and illustrated by Eric Gill in 1931 and this book Twelfth Night by Eric Ravilious.

The Four Gospels is now considered to be a typographical masterpiece, and one of the finest books produced by the private press movement in England. It was at the Golden Cockerel Press, at this time, that Eric Ravilious’ Twelfth Night was also designed and printed under the supervision of Robert Gibbings (1889-1958). Eric Ravilious was one of the emerging young artists being given the opportunity to to design and illustrate at the Golden Cockerel Press.

Twelfth Night took two years to produce. It was published in 1932 and became one of the Golden Cockerel Press’s greatest aesthetic successes – and one of Eric Ravilious’ finest books of typographic design and wood engraving.

Twelfth Night contains 29 wood engravings by Eric Ravilious.

Robert Gibbings was the owner of the Golden Cockerel Press. In 1932 he was experiencing severe financial problems caused by the 1930s Depression. When Twelfth Night was printed the Press was forced to cut its intended run of 500 copies to only 275. This rare book is numbered 132/275.

Set in 14pt Golden Cockerel type. 76 pages. 13 1/4″ x 9 1/4″. Printed on Batchelor hand-made paper with Golden Cockerel watermark. 1/4 bound in leather.

A copy of Twelfth Night in 1932 cost 3 guineas, which is the equivalent of approximately £190 in 2018.

This book was exhibited at the major Eric Ravilious exhibition at the IWM Museum, London, in 2003. It is in excellent condition. There are some age marks and slight scuffs on the edges of the binding. The inside pages are clean and the wood engravings and typesetting are clear and bright.

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Eric Ravilious (1903-1942).

Read more about the Private Press Movement – the art of the book.

See more of our illustrated books.

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