A young man stands alone in the arena, facing a pair of identical doors. Behind one is a lovely woman waiting to be his bride. Behind the other crouches a snarling tiger ready to devour him.
Which door will he open?
This is the central dilemma in Frank R. Stockton’s quirky and thought-provoking fairy tale, which is presented in a miniature edition from Rebecca Press. This publication marks the 36th year of the press.
The Lady or the Tiger? features 8 full-color illustrations by Robert M. Place — world-renowned tarot scholar, lecturer, author, and designer/illustrator of beautiful and intriguing tarot decks. Created in the style of his tarot decks, these illustrations were done especially for the book.
The book incorporates two different print processes. Text was printed letterpress directly from metal type. [Side Note: the type was first set by M&H more than 28 years ago, and languished in my garage all that time. M&H is the oldest continuously-operated foundry in the U.S. and celebrated its centennial a couple of years ago.] Printing was meticulously done by printer extraordinaire Leonard Seastone at the Tideline Press. Full-color illustrations (including a fold-out) were digitally printed at Train Printing. 53pp. Bound by Wesley Carpenter at the Green Dragon Bindery. Size is 2-1/4″ x 2-7/8″.
This limited edition of 201 comprises: 150 regular books numbered 1-150; 26 lettered deluxe copies; and 25 out-of-series copies reserved for special use.
Bound in cloth specially designed and printed for this book; full-color endpapers. Wrap-around, printed paper sleeve has a pictorial label. Individually numbered. Two versions of the regular edition were produced: The “Tiger” edition is bound in the darker cloth; the “Lady” copies, covered in the lighter cloth are available on request. Price: $139
Bound in full black leather stamped in gold and silver. Blind-stamped leather doublures on both inside covers have “doors” that open. Edges are gilded and gauffered. Housed in a cloth and leather slipcase. Inset on the slipcase is a custom, 3-d printed bronze medallion in a motif that appears in 2 illustrations (can you spot it?). A special folder contains a set of cards with the book illustrations: full color on one side, black and white line art (not presented in the book) on the other. An extra card shows two alternate illustrations: a different full-color drawing of The Lady and an earlier version of The Lovers. The deluxe edition is signed by the artist. Price: $805
To purchase, please email Rebecca Bingham at firstname.lastname@example.org. I accept payment by Pay Pal and will send an invoice. Other payment types by individual arrangement.
A Special Custom Binding
I was asked to design a special, “extra-deluxe” binding for The Lady or the Tiger? and jumped at the opportunity to take the design a little further. It was important to me that the new binding relate to the other ones, which incorporate the same basic elements, just treated differently. That meant using the door motif for the endpapers and doublures and incorporating images of the lady and the tiger on the book covers. For consistency, I chose to maintain the same color palette and materials.
This version has a more dimensional cover, in the style of medieval tomes. The cover is primarily blind stamped but also has some gold ornamentation. Inset on the covers, under watch glass, are heads of the lady (front cover) and the tiger (back cover). The hope was to evoke the hand-painted miniatures that were sometimes inset in older books. Leather doublures, blind-stamped with the door motif, open to reveal the lady or the tiger. The free ends are the door image printed letterpress on Wookey Hole paper I shlepped back from England in 1983. The silver and gold-stamped images of the lady and tiger that were featured on the covers of the deluxe edition were used on the slipcase of this version. The slipcase uses the same black leather and goldenrod book cloth as the deluxe edition but the proportions are reversed, with the leather being primary and the cloth secondary.
As with the regular and deluxe copies, Wesley Carpenter of the Green Dragon Bindery bound the book.