THE SOUL VISITING THE MANSIONS OF THE DEAD 1932
Paul Nash (1889 – 1946)
- 21.5 X 16 CM
- WATERCOLOUR ON PAPER
- Accession number
Nash was commissioned to produce illustrations for a one volume edition of Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus by Sir Thomas Browne, a 17th century physician, antiquarian and speculative philosopher. Although written as separate books, they have almost always been published in one volume. In Urne Buriall Browne took the discovery of some burial urns in a Norfolk field as the occasion for a meditation on the funeral rituals of many nations. The fragility of all relics prompted him to turn to the Christian doctrine of resurrection as the only hope. Whereas The Garden of Cyrus is about life: the soul, reason and form. and takes the river as its emblem. The Nash illustrated book was published in 1932 in an edition of 215 copies, of which 85 were bound. He made a number of studies with the same or similar title. In his autobiography Outline, Nash wrote of the work ‘ it occurred to me that Sir Thomas Browne must have been thinking about tombs under the ground when he wrote of ‘The Soul visiting the mansions of the Dead’. (But) to me it suggested only aerial habitations where the soul like a bird or some such aerial creature roamed at will perching now and then on these convenient structures in the clouds or in the pure upper air.’
All copies of a book, print, portfolio, sculpture, etc., issued or produced at one time or from a single set of type. Printed works can be made in an edition of between one and many thousands of copies. With most printing techniques the plate or screen will become worn if very many prints are made, so to maintain quality (and exclusivity) editions of original prints are usually kept below one hundred copies and normally average between thirty and fifty copies. Prints made up of several different plates can be extremely complicated and time-consuming to edition, so in these cases editions are kept low for practical reasons. Sculptural editions are a set of cast sculptures taken from the same mould or master. These editions are usually much lower, consisting of no more than six casts. Though each cast in an edition might have a lower value than a unique piece, it may be a more effective way of offsetting costs of an expensive process such as bronze casting.