Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amphigorey with an Original Gorey Drawing

Artists sometimes publish special limited editions of their more popular works, sometimes distinguished with special bindings or slipcases. These special editions often come with limitation pages on which the artist signs and numbers the book in ink. Because of the limited number of copies of the edition and their desirability, these books can be published with high production values and sold for a premium. Various other enhancements may be offered. Sometimes one or more limited-edition prints will be included. Sometimes images will be hand-colored. Even more exciting is the inclusion of an original drawing.

Amphigorey was Edward Gorey's 1972 volume collecting fifteen of his small books. The limited edition of fifty books each included a different original watercolor drawing signed by Mr. Gorey with his monogram. The number within the edition is included in the drawing, in this particular one in roman numerals, as well as on the colophon in arabic numerals. Drawings with watercolor such as this are evidently created in the artist's studio and are among the most finished examples that can be found in books. The drawing is laid in to the book. In 1974, the fifty different cat vignettes were collected in the book Categor y.

The rare book pictured here was sold at Swann Galleries on October 14, 2010. The hammer price of $8,000 ($9,600 with the 20% buyer's premium) far exceeded the $2,000-$3,000 presale estimate. In truth, that exceeds the price of many, but by no means all, Gorey drawings. The book, meant to be highly desirable forty years ago, is still highly desirable today.

Edward Gorey, original ink and watercolor drawing 
from the limited edition of Amphigorey, 34/50, 1972.

Sale 2225 Lot 198
SCARCE LIMITED EDITION WITH DRAWING GOREY, EDWARD. Amphigorey. Illustrated by Gorey. Tall 4to, pictorial boards; dust jacket; publisher's slipcase, moderate wear. first limited edition of gorey's wildly popular work. number 34 of only 50 copies signed by gorey with an original drawing. Toledano A44a. New York, 1972 
Estimate $2,000-3,000
Sold for $8,000

Irwin Terry, in his informative Goreyana blog, shares his own drawing from copy number 39 of the limited edition:

Number 48, as reproduced in Categor y:

All fifty original cat drawings are collected in Categor y:
Categor y



  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Professor Pepper January 12, 2012 2:29:00 AM
      Well, that's another volume to sleuth around for! Doubtless all 50 are safely sitting in wealthy collections rather that hiding upon the shelves of second hand bookshops...

  2. I think you may be right there, Professor Pepper, but it never hurts to keep an eye open for a slipcased volume!