The Twelve Labours of Hercules
The first book from the Press, inspired by a love of Greek Myths in youth. In planning since early 2015 and finally printed late 2017.
Hercules, or Herakles, was the greatest of the mythological Greek heroes. He was famous for his incredible strength, courage, and intelligence. His father was Zeus, King of the Gods, and his mother was Alcmene, a beautiful princess. When Zeus's wife, the goddess Hera, found out about Hercules, she wanted to kill him. As a man, Hercules married a princess named Megara. Hera, seeking revenge, tricked him into murdering his wife and children. Riddled with guilt, Hercules sought advice from the Oracle of Delphi, who told him that he must serve King Eurystheus for ten years and do any task the King asked of him. If he did this, he would be forgiven. The tasks the King gave him were called the Twelve Labours of Hercules.
Printed in December 2017 on an Albion Press.
Hand-set in 16pt Centaur, a face designed by Bruce Rogers.
Printed in blue and black ink, on Sunome Senaka Japanese paper.
Japanese stab-bound with red linen thread to match the red ink titling, in an earthly Amate bark paper, the last of a stock from John Purcell Paper which was only available in sufficient quantity to provide for an equal number of brown and light-green covers, with no priority between them.
The text is taken from the first English translations of the original Greek texts. Wishing to retain authenticity in the text, an amalgamation of the first English translations by Cogan (dated 1653), Booth (1700 & 1814) and Frazer (1921) was plotted, from the accounts written by the Ancient Greek historians Diodorus Siculus (c. 30 BC), and Apollodorus (c. 180 BC). The titles were taken from the narrative in the Greek Anthology.
The design of the text blocks was broken up with pilcrows.
Featuring an original wood-engraved frontispiece by Harry Brockway of Hercules surrounded by twelve small vignettes depicting the twelve labours. Each of these vignettes is printed individually to accompany the text of each labour in the edition.
Harry Brockway trained at the Royal Academy Schools. He exhibits regularly with the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and the Society of Wood Engravers. Harry is an associate member of the RE and former chairman of the Society of Wood Engravers.
Harry has provided illustrations for a number of publications but it was primarily his treatment of heroic masculine figures for the Folio Society's Rime of the Ancient Mariner (2010) that convinced the St James Park Press to commission him for this edition. Harry was initially commissioned to produce twelve wood engravings, but a single frontispiece was ultimately decided upon, finished at the end of 2015. This featured twelve vignettes within a border, which whilst previously unplanned could be reprinted in isolation alongside each related labour within the book.
Only 30 individual prints of the frontispiece were taken by the artist, the block thereafter remaining with the Press, so that no further prints could possibly be taken. In total, therefore, no more than 70 prints will ever be available of this illustration.
210 x 148mm
The edition is limited to 40 numbered copies only