How to See Fairies Review (Folio Society, Boxed Set, Trade and Private Press) | Charles van Sandwyk

How to See Fairies Review (Folio Society, Boxed Set, Trade and Private Press) | Charles van Sandwyk

Today’s episode of Beautiful Books is about
the various editions of Charles van Sandwyk’s delightful book ‘How to See Fairies’. I will be reviewing the 1999 collector’s
boxed set and the trade edition of the book, along with the 2018 Folio Society collection
of tales, and the original handmade private press miniature books that started it all. I’ve been collecting Charles’ artist books
for many years, and I actually have a free collector’s guide to his publications on
my website that I’ll link below if anyone is interested in more of his work. This cute boxed set was released by Raincoast
books in 1999. The box includes a copy of the How To See
Fairies book, a collection of stationery and this lovely little Fairy Journal which is
designed for you to record your own fairy sightings within. Each page spread in the journal features a
tiny line drawing or two, taken from his Pocket Guide to the Little People, which are both
sweet and lightly humorous. The box includes ribbons to help you remove
the books, which is a nice touch. This trade hardback edition of How to See
Fairies is actually a compilation of two original books put out by Charles’ own private press,
one of which was also called How to See Fairies and the other was a Pocket Guide to the Little
People. As you can see, the books were changed a little
in the transformation – the private press editions are smaller and the illustrations
have been enlarged, moved around and in a few cases omitted from the trade press hardback. How to See Fairies is a story of fairies told
in verse first released in 1993. The original book had French flaps and hand-sewn
pages. The Pocket Guide to the Little People was
released in 1997 and is mostly a collection of fairy folk illustrations and calligraphic
text. Some of the line drawings from the Pocket
Guide were moved to the Fairy Journal instead. The Rain Coast edition of How to See Fairies
that comes in the boxed set is pretty similar to the Smithmark edition which was released
separately, but they differ slightly in the cover design, and also on the decorations
for the title page and size of the frontispiece illustration. The box also includes a pocket filled with
pretty fairy stationery that matches the books. There are three blank cards with reproductions
of fairy watercolours on the front, along with an illustrated bookmark and a small poster
featuring one of the full spread illustrations in the How to See Fairies book. Now let’s take a close look at the Folio
Society edition. The long form title of this edition is actually
“How to See Fairies and other tales” and it is in fact an anthology of seven of Charles’
earlier handmade books printed under his private press The Fairy Press, with some extra features
as well. I’ve covered some of these books in detail
in an earlier video that I’ll link above and below if you’re interested. It’s an enchanting collection of fairy folk
illustrations and stories and I am sure that if you like fairies and whimsy, you should
definitely invest in a copy for your own library – it will be a treasured heirloom. The binding of this edition is a beautiful
heavily textured cloth, yet they have still managed to block this with a delicate illustration
that features a rich red and a bright gold that has been applied with real care and stability
to the cover. The cover also features an inset paper illustration
of some delightful fairy folk. It comes in a decorated slipcase, gold printed
with a pattern created especially for this edition
The illustrated endpapers are beautifully reproduced – it’s the same illustration
that is used in the trade copy I showed earlier, but the colours in the FS edition are definitely
more vibrant. This may also be related to the Italian paper
used in the book, which is Modigliani Insize Neve and is lightly textured, which I’ll
try to show in close-up here, because it adds a really nice tactile element to reading
the book. The first book presented in the anthology
is The Fairy Market from 2009. This was one of Charles’ larger private
press publications, so the illustrations are a similar size to the original. The private press book was printed on, and
the texture of the FS book reflects this experience. Next we have How to see fairies that I mentioned
earlier The Gnome King’s Treasure Song was released
in 2000 and it tells the story of the Gnome King. And The Pocket Guide to the Little People
I also discussed earlier Afterglow was printed in 2008, and it contains
an Autumn poem about elfin revelers. The private press book was bound with a rainbow
ribbon, and included a bookmark with a short poem. The gatefold illustration is actually reproduced
in the Folio Society edition as a fold-out as well, in a lovely nod to the original booklet. Wee Folk was a small volume of which only 40 copies
were issued in 1994. The original book had sepia toned illustrations,
and the pictures reproduced in the Folio Society book were hand-tinted by Charles for this
edition, so this is a great way to see a copy of this very rare original publication. The reproduction of The Fairies’ Christmas
from 2001 is probably the most changed in comparison of all the original books. The original edition was illustrated with
line drawings, but the Folio Society contains watercolour illustrations that were actually
painted separately by Charles at the time the story was written, and their inclusion
in this volume is their first appearance in publication. The Folio Society book also includes new decorated
elements, including borders and delightful little folk tailpieces. It’s an absolutely charming volume. Well, thanks for watching! Share your favourite volume in the comments
if you’d like, and subscribe for more content if you’re also a fan of beautiful books. Looking forward to next time, bye!

5 thoughts on “How to See Fairies Review (Folio Society, Boxed Set, Trade and Private Press) | Charles van Sandwyk

  1. Links etc for the keen collector ㋡
    ✰ Free Charles van Sandwyk collector's guide: ✰
    ► Folio Society 'How to See Fairies':
    ► Boxed Set (OOP):
    ► How to See Fairies trade edition (OOP):
    ► How to See Fairies 'Fairy Press' edition (OOP):
    ► Pocket Guide to the Little People 'Fairy Press' edition (OOP):
    ► The Fairy Market (OOP):
    ► Gnome King's Treasure Song (OOP):
    ► Afterglow (OOP):
    ► Wee Folk (OOP):
    ► The Fairies' Christmas (OOP):
    → And as always, there's more on the website:

  2. Oh… those tiny little people are so beautiful designed! Makes me wish I could see even one little fairy shadow on the forests of Germany. Beautiful collection. Congratulations! 😁

    Sadly this books are way out of my league (budget).

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