Letterpress & Binding Studio

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with]
A History of the Necronomicon

Collected edition
H P. Lovecraft (Heavenly Monkey & unknown, 2020)

The colophon for this collection explains the contents:

This book combines two publications related only by their author. Sixteen sets of unbound extra sheets from HM’s 2005 edition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth were found when the bindery closed. These are extras from the Batrachian issue, printed on Mohawk paper by David Clifford at Black Stone Press, Vancouver. The book’s original colophon has been removed, and replaced with proofs of Shinsuke Minegishi’s wood engravings pulled from the blocks at Heavenly Monkey, February 2020. They are printed on gampi paper made by Reg Lissel.

Some years after publishing Innsmouth, several dozen copies of the Necronomicon pamphlet were presented to HM, from the estate of the original printer, with the invitation to put them to some use. The family asked only that the person behind the publication remain anonymous. The exact print run is not known, but as it was done by an amateur printer for distribution to fellow enthusiasts (which the family confirmed), it cannot have been a large number. Apparently some flaw in the printing or text was discovered shortly after its production, and few copies were distributed. Copies included in this compilation have been slightly trimmed to match the other sheets; the remaining copies will be distributed (untrimmed) separately.

The Collected Edition consists of sixteen copies bound in full leather by Claudia Cohen. The frontis in each copy has been signed by Shinsuke Minegishi. This is copy number –

One correction to the colophon was printed: the sheets were sent to Claudia at the beginning of March, 2020, just as the world started to close down. We found ourselves unable to get leather in the quality and quantity required for the 16 copies, and then a better idea presented itself: years ago Claudia had purchased, in Copenhagen, a small number of decorated papers from (she thinks) the 1930s. One which she had been saving for the right project proved a perfect accent for Innsmouth, much more evocative and distinct than plain old leather (even in her hands). Thus, the binding is quarter leather with a leather fore-edge, all tooled in gilt. An erratum is inserted behind the colophon, explaining this change.

Although the HM’s Batrachian issue of Innsmouth was simpler in design and materials than the Ichthyic, its printed endpapers were unique to those copies (the Ichthyic copies having unprinted endpapers). The image on the endpapers was adapted from a small engraving that appears at the end of the novel. Although not functioning as endpapers in this collection, they have been retained, for graphic effect. A proof of the engraving from which they were taken is laid into each copy’s box, loose.

The Ichthyic issue featured proofs pulled from the engravings interleaved through the novel; for this collection they have been combined in a section between Innsmouth and the History. The gampi used for the proofs is among the last remaining from HM’s retired & much missed papermaker, Reg Lissel.

Shinsuke's signature appears under the frontis engraving, which opens out to show the map of Innsmouth, which can be used to track the narrator's travels through its streets.

The History (which is not listed in Owings or Joshi) is printed with the full original title, plus the lines “With New Appendices Examining / Evidence Related to the First Printed Edition.” The first appendix is titled “Notice of a Fragment,” excerpting a section from “Bibliograhical Notes & News” in the April, 1939 edition of The London Mercury (a literary journal published from 1919 to 1939).

The excerpt concerns a recently discovered printed fragment reported by the British Library, which might have been from a previously unrecorded Spanish incunable. A facsimile of the fragment (11 incomplete lines of Latin in a gothic type) is included. The second appendix is titled “Commentary on a Notice,” and draws some connections between the fragment and Lovecraft’s brief (and not entirely accurate) references to the printed editions of the Necronomicon.

The entire pamphlet is 12 pages, originally issued stapled in self-wraps. There is no indication of when it was produced, but the production (letterpress, all black, no color), and a few references in the text, suggest late 1960s or early 1970s.

This Collected Edition is 176 pages, 5 x 7.5 inches. Of the 16 copies, 14 were offered for sale.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon

The Shadow Over Innsmouth [with] A History of the Necronomicon