Kuthan’s Menagerie of Interesting Zoo Animals was published in 1960 from the private press of Robert and Felicity Reid (under the imprint Nevermore Press). It has since become famous in the history of fine printing in Canada, not just for Kuthan’s exquisite multi-color linocuts of animals, but also for the fact that only 60 of the edition’s 130 copies were ever bound; the balance remained in the bindery, eventually forgotten but luckily, not lost.
Kuthan’s Menagerie (9.75 x 13 inches) was printed on Golden Hind, a laid sheet, one side only and folded. Reid explains this both helped solve a problem with see-through and bulk up the book (which consists of 13 sheets forming 26 pages, from half title to colophon). The pages were printed landscape, and the sheets bound along the open edge.
The unbound copies were purchased from the original binder’s estate by Vancouver booksellers Stephen Lunsford and William Hoffer in the late ’80s; all of the 50 complete copies remaining were issued as part of this project. Rather than attempt to recreate the original binding, the remaining copies were issued in the livre d’artiste manner – loose, with a new wrap and custom-made clamshell box.
Kuthan’s Menagerie Completed features a new title page; a two-page preface by Robert R. Reid, the original publisher; and an additional colophon, all printed at Heavenly Monkey in 18-point Perpetua on the same Golden Hind paper used in the original book. The original sheets are surrounded by an inner wrap of the yellow Japanese paper used for endsheets in the copies bound in 1960. All of the sheets are held in an outer wrap of handmade St Armand paper. The colophon is numbered (50 copies) and signed by Robert Reid. (Please note these copies do not bear George Kuthan’s signature. The copies issued in 1960 were numbered and signed after being bound.) The clamshell box, made by Simone Mynen, is covered in red Japanese fabric with decorative printed labels debossed on the front and spine.