Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.
Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios). John Furnival, Jonathan Williams. Openings Press. 1983–.

Letters to the Great Dead (both small and large portfolios).

Openings Press, 1983–. Item #2364

Two portfolios with 13 large and 11 small prints respectively. Texts by Jonathan Williams and prints (in letterpress, etching, silkscreen, lithography) by John Furnival. These works were collaboratively created in homage to a range of composers, poets, artists, and chefs. In an issue of Modern Painters (no. 78, Summer 1992), Williams recounts the genesis of this project, one afternoon with Furnival:

"[We] wanted to see if anything remained of the place by the River Wharfe where Andrew Marvell wrote The Garden. Not much did, in fact, though on one desolate stone terrace was the biggest rosemary bush that any of us had ever seen. Returning to Stillingfleet, we visited the Norman Church. Inside was a wall plaque, dated 1927: 'WITHOUT THE FRIENDSHIP OF THE HAPPY DEAD, HOW SHOULD WE BEAR OUR LIVES?' It is a favorite theme of mine, and there so clearly stated. John Furnival and I would honour our special panethon."

To that end, the large portfolio includes: Fernand Point, Atkinson Grimshaw / Whistler,  Frederick Delius and Percy Grainger, Erik Satie, Anton Bruckner, Gustav Mahler, Stevie Smith, Basil Bunting, Charles Olson, Ronald Firbank, Edward Lear, Federico Mompou, dsh [dom sylvester houédard]. The small portfolio includes Stéphane Mallarmé, Fernand Point, Franz Liszt, Basho - Sappho, Stevie Smith, Joel Oppenheimer, Catullus, Frances Poulenc, Percy Grainger, Lorine Niedecker, Odilon Redon, and Ford/Coppard. The prints are numbered and signed by poet and artist.

The project was begun in 1984 and offered on a subscription basis with the intention to produce 25 large and 25 small prints over the course of several years. A press release dated Jan. 4, 1985 indicates: "The aim is to complete the entire work within five years, by which time the artist and the poet will be even more internationally unknown than ever, your investment will [b]e worth 3 cents on the dollar, and you will have retired to a monastery to read Lorine and Stevie and other unworldly folk." Ultimately, 13 large and 11 small prints were completed by the time of Jonathan Williams's death in 2008.

Both portfolios and prints in fine condition. The portfolios are quite scarce owing to a lack of proper distribution. It is not known, though unlikely, whether John Furnival completed the full run of each print. His method was to print those immediately needed and run more based on demand. Individual prints were occasionally sold, separate from the portfolios.

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