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Silver Birch Cut-out Album
- A most extraordinary, and unique, example of American folk art. Within the covers made of silver birch bark are 43 "leaves", or pages, with intricate cut-outs of silver birch into silhouette-like illustrations, except ones to which fine penwork adds details. These also bear a resemblance to Chinese paper cut designs, but unquestionably working with the thin wood was even more demanding. Even more remarkable is that everything is threaded together in a loose pictorial narrative revolving around a countess and her pets. The illustrations themselves are enchanting, with the book opening with a depiction of her pet parrot, her pet monkey, the countess giving alms, boys chasing the cat, and on and on. The story itself is beside the point, except it does contain an element of caricature. The attention to detail is exemplified in such things as one illustration with the cat's tail raised in the air, its fur standing on end. No cat owner wouldn't recognize the fidelity to reality of the representation. The story and cut-outs are entirely on the recto, with sometimes a single picture, other times, up to four, on the page, and the facing page has offsetting, which here is entirely for the good, as the sharp offsetting, no doubt a result of the sap in the birch, is a truly silhouette impression which picks up the birch but not the inkwork, and this different but complete image is itself quite satisfying to view. N.d., circa late 19th century. It is unknown where Ms. Kellogg created this album, but it is presumed to be New England. Oblong, 13 by 20 cm. The front cover birch is split horizontally down the middle. A few leaves have minor corner creases.
      [Bookseller: White Fox Rare Books, ABAA/ILAB]
Last Found On: 2014-08-13           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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