Earlier this year paper engineer David Pelham and illustrator Christopher Wormell collaborated on a masterful pop-up book rendition of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven.”
It’s an unusually accomplished work in a genre that is often thought to be directed at children. And while kids’ books do make up a large portion of the pop-up books produced, adults who turn their nose up at anything more than a flat white page adorned with black text might find much to admire in the field of “moveable books.” A Moveable Book Society not only exists, but has a biannual convention that’s taking place this coming weekend in Boston. The earliest pop-ups appeared in books hundreds of years ago. This video lecture by pop-up wizard and designer Robert Sabuda was done for the Smithsonian.
I used to be a pop-up book nut, having started collecting them in the 1980s. Eventually, with hundreds of books stacked up all over, I sold it for a pittance. A pity, in retrospect, though I did keep an important few, including a beautiful copy of Model Menagerie published in 1895 by Ernest Nister which I snatched up for an unlikely C note on Portobello Road in London just as the dealer was opening his stand early in the morning. I scampered out with my prize feeling terribly guilty and simultaneously full of glee.
These days pop-up books are most often produced on glossy stock. The Raven, however, is printed on uncoated paper, and this in combination with Wormell’s magnificent illustrations create a book of seeming mid-19th century engravings come to life. Read the rest