Cabinet 17


The Circle of Chalk was originally written by the thirteenth century Chinese playwright Li Xingdao (Li Hsingtao) during the Yuan or Mongol dynasty, when the Grand Canal was completed and when the country was opened up to foreigners. This edition was translated by 'Frances Hume', the pen-name of Mary Buckland Wright. It contains six copper engravings by JBW, hand-coloured and reproduced in colour collotype. Interestingly, after the 3,000 copies were produced, the type used in the book was destroyed.

Xingdao Li, The Story of the Circle of Chalk: A Drama from the Old Chinese. Emmaus, Pa.: The Rodale Press, [1953]. Special PL 2694.L463 A24.

Open Book

This is the second German edition of the original Pour et contre la femme (For and Against Women; 1951), compiled by Georges Pavis (1886-1951), the French illustrator. It contains 366 epigrams, with female nude studies by JBW at the start of each month. Here is Balzac's epigram for March: on the ease of fighting with men rather than fighting with one's wife. The first German edition appeared in 1955.

Detail Cover

So Sind Die Frauen [Women are like that]. Stuttgart: Joannes Asmus Verlag, [1959]. Special NE 1147.6 B83 P68 1959.

Private Library

This small article by David Chambers is a reminder that JBW did other work beside book and print illustrations. He was generous with his time, hardly ever refusing small commissions such as bookplates, and design work for friends.

David Chambers, 'John Buckland Wright & M. B. B. Nijkerk', The Private Library 5th Series, Vol. 1: 3 (Autumn 1998), pp. 130-132. Private Collection.


'John was always fascinated by the Faun theme - possible because he himself had pointed ears! Also he had a great feeling for the lyrical and the mythological.' So writes Mary Buckland Wright in the foreword to this posthumous printing of Mallarmé's L'apres-midi d'un Faune (1956). JBW had first planned this book to appear in the 1930's, but pressure from other work and continual trials on the best type of illustration for the text prevented it from publication. This Golden Cockerel edition of 1956 uses Aldous Huxley's English translation and contains four full page and five smaller wash drawings inked in green. They certainly reflect another style adopted by JBW. This is no. 59 of 200 copies only.

Stéphane Mallarmé, L'apres-midi d'un Faune. Translated by Aldous Huxley. London : Golden Cockerel Press, 1956. Special PQ 2344 .A65 1956.

«Previous Next»
University of Otago Master of the Burin: The Book Illustrations of John Buckland Wright, 1897 - 1954 <