Webb & Webb uses insect wings and shells in Mervyn Peake book designs

Webb & Webb is designing limited-edition book covers for a series of Mervyn Peake books, including the Gormenghast trilogy, marking the 100th anniversary of the author and illustrator’s birth.

Mock up

The consultancy began working on the set  in January 2011. It was approached for the project by Queen Anne Press manager Fergus Fleming, nephew of James Bond author Sir Ian Fleming, having previously designed the limited-edition Ian Fleming books.

There are ten books in the series, including the Gormenghast trilogy, poems, Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor, Boy in Darkness and Mr Pye. The books will be bound by Shepherds, Sangorski and Sutcliffe.

There will be 150 books in each set, all with each page letter-pressed, with 25 from each run forming a leather-bound set decorated with materials including gold leaf, real insect wing cases and iridescent shells.

James Webb, designer at Webb & Webb Design, says, ‘[Fleming’s] brief to start with was a smart cloth set and a leather set. We came up with loads of different processes and suggestions – metals, enamels and natural processes.

‘We’re using real shell but the way that it works creates an iridescent, floaty feel – we’re having it laser cut so that it becomes water themed for the Gormenghast books.’

The full set will launch in November.

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