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This report is taken from PN Review 41, Volume 11 Number 3, January - February 1985.

Inky Parrot Press Steven Tuohy

[This is the first in an occasional series by Steven Tuohy assessing the work of some of the fine-edition presses.]

Children's illustrated bookmaking, always one of the most imaginative areas of post-War British book design, is currently enjoying an extraordinary renaissance. The productions of the now four-year-old INKY PARROT PRESS, though mostly books intended for adults, are very much an expression of that renaissance. Short, fully-illustrated texts, including both 'classical' and original work, are treated to large formats and type sizes in books which seem to revel in the variety of illustrative and graphic-reproductive techniques they employ. The result is readability combined with an often immense visual excitement, while good quality papers ensure considerable tactile appeal. Inevitably, however, the more directly childhood-related material in the list comes off best. The production of Jan Mark's two genre-parodies Childemas & Mr and Mrs Johnson (illustrated by Olive King) is especially interesting, the ambiguities of the text finding an exact echo in those of the illustrated book's specific form.

It must be said, however, that the Press's standards of manufacture, though high, are hardly impeccable. There is evidence in a number of Inky Parrot books that rather more care has been taken on the illustrations than on the text. In the case of C.H.Sisson's Night Thoughts this is particularly unfortunate, since the fortuitously 'bold' image of page 12, the result of an over-developed negative, conspires with the broad masses of colour in the accompanying lino-cuts to ...

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