No, I’ve never thought about it either, but it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. On December 11, Sotheby’s, in partnership with Winsor & Newton, will be auctioning off a collection called “First Editions: Re-covered” to benefit House of Illustration, a public art gallery dedicated to the art of illustration. Leading contemporary artists, as well as some other well-known names, have created dust jackets for 33 first editions of famous works, and they’ll be auctioned off.
I need to emphasize this: these are real first editions of these classics, and famous designers and authors have created new and gorgeous covers for them. Neil Gaiman created his cover by hand, with ink and matches and crafts. These books include everything from a first edition of Metamorphosis re-covered by Peter Capaldi to a first edition of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit re-covered by Audrey Niffenegger. Chris Riddell illustrates the cover of Titus Groan, and Shaun Tan has created a bizarre, structural cover for Animal Farm. Here are just a couple of my favorites:
"The Waste Land is to me now a literary Guernica… Every time I unpack one image so many others open out in front of me. It is a lifetime of reading in one slim volume" – @DaveMcKean on his design for #HOIfirsteditions at @sothebys next month https://t.co/3qHDFVjFO7 pic.twitter.com/vnE14t43Va
— House of Illustration (@illustrationHQ) November 23, 2017
— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) November 26, 2017
An original dust-jacket by @QuentinBlakeHQ for The Hunchback of Notre-Dame will be one of the beautiful, original creations by leading artists at our auction next month #HOIfirsteditions #QuentinBlake pic.twitter.com/2WIwyE0qBV
— House of Illustration (@illustrationHQ) November 26, 2017
"To Kill a Mockingbird has always been close enough to reality for me to want to draw it… I’ve always preferred books with more pictures than words but this is an exception" – @george_butler on his cover design for our @sothebys auction #HOIfirsteditions pic.twitter.com/bYdUarGYqB
— House of Illustration (@illustrationHQ) November 22, 2017
Personally, I would die over the Neil Gaiman re-cover of Fahrenheit 451, and I wish I had a month or three’s worth of rent to dole out on this and add to my collection. Which is your favorite?