Monday, January 25, 2010

Goreyana: The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt

Notes from Goreyana about The Mummy, The Will, and the Crypt:
I own the original watercolor artwork for the cover portion of the dust jacket. This watercolor is very painterly with its stormy night sky, and I really like the use of opaque watercolor for the snow and lightning. The touch of red in Johnny's jacket plays nicely against Mr. Gorey's "mushroom colors" in the rest of the painting.

I purchased the cover art in 1994 from Gotham Book Mart. At that time, Mr. Gorey decided that he could no longer put off major repairs to his home, and to finance the work, he authorized GBM to offer the original pieces of art from the Bellairs series (as well as many other illustrations from his archives). I should note that not all the art from this series was found in the archive at this time. There were several titles from which the artwork could not be located. In one example of this, I was told I would receive the artwork for the hand lettered title of the book as part of the sale price, but it was never found.

You may have noticed...that I said I have the cover portion of the dust jacket artwork. I do not own the back half of the dust jacket artwork because the art was cut in half at GBM. Why? Because each piece of Bellairs dust jacket artwork was significantly larger and more expensive than the other pieces of art being offered, someone at GBM asked Mr. Gorey if he wanted the DJ art sold as intact single pieces or cut and sold as front and back cover illustrations. ...Mr. Gorey responded that he really didn't care if the art was cut if someone wanted a portion rather than the entire piece. was presented as:
  1. Front and Back Dust Jacket Art
  2. Front Cover Art Only
  3. Rear Cover Art Only

Because of how it was offered to me over the phone, I was under the impression that the art was created in two pieces, so I ordered just the front cover art. After I received the art and realized that it had been trimmed (I could tell by the unpainted margins on the paper), I...was told that they cut the back half off and sold me the front portion.

To my knowledge, three Bellairs titles were cut and sold in pieces: The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt; The Mansion in the Mist; and The Lamp from the Warlock's Tomb. Fortunately, the practice of cutting the art up was quickly ended, and future sales were for the full dust jacket design only.

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