The Door in the Wall

Photographer Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882–1966) illustrates HG Wells’ wonderful short stories in a rare edition of The Door in the Wall and Other Stories, from 1911. More pictures here.

The Door in the Wall was a true three-way collaboration between the author, the photographer and the typographer, Frederic W. Goudy, who specifically produced his Kennerley Old Style typeface for this book. Designed in the elegant Arts-and-Crafts style, it was printed on French hand-made paper at Goudy’s Village Press in an edition of 600 copies. In fact, only 300 copies contain the full compliment of Coburn’s rich photogravures, due to some being damaged in shipment and being replaced by aquatones. The photographer personally prepared the gravure plates, pulled proofs and oversaw the printing of the edition.


The Door in the Wall.


The Lord of the Dynamos.

Previously on { feuilleton }
War of the Worlds book covers

3 thoughts on “The Door in the Wall”

  1. You’ve no doubt seen it – but Coburn’s 1900 “Portrait of F. Holland Day” – with Day in a robe and a pool of light, and pans of emulsion chemicals (presumably) leading towards him across the dark floor like stepping-stones – is a wonderful image of the photographer-as-magician (and magus).

    It’s reprinted in the second vol. of *Vorticism* – along with nice reproductions of the Vortographs – (I haven’t found it online as yet). It feels vaguely consonant with some of the themes of these feuilles.

  2. I suppose the moden equivalent would be Jose Villarubia’s photos for Alan’s voice of the Fire and Mirror of Love.

  3. finn: I know of Coburn’s Vortographs but haven’t seen his F Holland Day portrait (although I’m aware they were related). A shame period photography isn’t better served on the web, there’s few of Day’s pictures around either.

    Eroom: José’s work would fit the bill, yeah, although photo illustration goes back quite a way. Simon Marsden–he of the infra-red photos of ruins–produced a very nice set of pictures for an edition of Poe’s stories; there are many other examples. Marsden does a good job of capturing the smoky grain that you see in Coburn’s work.

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