Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Illustrated with Four Watercolors by William Matthews
Arion Press, 2001, Signed Limited Edition, 349 of 400
Signed by Tom Stoppard and William Matthews
MINT Condition – Still in the Publisher’s Original Packaging
This is a signed limited edition of “Arcadia” published by the Arion Press in 2001 with a limitation of 400 with this being number 349. From the publisher, “Arcadia is a masterwork of contemporary English drama, considered by many as the finest play by Tom Stoppard, whose work New York Times critic Clive Barnes has called "unrivaled in today's English-speaking theater". The play had its first performance in London in 1993. Of Stoppard's "high comedies of ideas", Arcadia is surely the funniest, most affecting, and readily comprehended. It immediately touches the heart. In the country-house play tradition, Arcadia begins in 1809 in the schoolroom of Sidley Park, the seat of the Coverly family, where Lord and Lady Croom are entertaining a set of poets and intellectuals that includes the historical figure Lord Byron. Episodes alternate in Sidley Park between 1809-1812 and the present, nearly two centuries later, among the Croom descendants. The plot interweaves elements of the murder mystery with bedroom farce, here a situation comedy about marital discord over remodeling the family garden. Stoppard displays his fascination with chaos theory, which his characters bring to bear on their arguments over such subjects as Newtonian determinism and the Classic versus the Romantic. The teenage prodigy Thomasina Coverly tries to prove Fermat's Last Theorem, a legendary problem in mathematics. Although the proof had eluded science since the seventeenth century, a solution was coincidentally announced a few months after the opening of Arcadia.”
Publisher Andrew Hoyem's design for the book recognizes the theme of Arcadia that is reflected in its title, the debates over style in the history of the English garden. The landscape format and fold-out illustrations are an allusion to the presentation books of the garden designer Humphrey Repton, referred to in the stage directions for the play, and whose imaginary counterpart, the landscaper Richard Noakes, launches Act One by turning the pages of his book of proposals for the Sidley Park gardens. The illustrations show the reader the larger setting for the play, exterior to the stage set, referred to but unseen by the audience.”
The book measures 11” x 14” with 132 pages and is bound in boards covered with green Japanese cloth and are presented in a slipcase with cloth edges and paper sides. The types are Monotype Scotch Roman (introduced around 1810, during the earlier time of the play), composed and cast at Mackenzie & Harris; and handset Lilith, designed by Lucien Bernard in 1930. Printing of the text was by letterpress. The paper is mouldmade Zerkall. The illustrations were printed by Urban Digital Color in continuous tone, using a Roland Digital Pigment Printer, on mouldmade Somerset paper. The four prints fold out from the insides of the cover, two from the front, two from the back. The introduction was written by Diana Ketcham.
The book is signed by Tom Stoppard and William Matthews.
Accompanying the book is the original prospectus.
The book and slipcase are in MINT condition still in the publisher’s original packaging.
Stock photographs of the book, slipcase, and two examples of illustrations in the book as well as the prospectus appear in the photo section of the listing.
About the Arion Press
Since its inception in 1974, the Arion Press has published 118 deluxe limited editions that are breathtaking in their scope and artistry. Combining notable literature illustrated with original artwork from prominent artists, Andrew Hoyem and his team at the Arion Press have carried on the tradition of the livre d’artiste in spectacular fashion. Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times put it best when he wrote, "The Arion Press produces some of the most beautiful limited-edition, hand printed books in the world."