Lost on the Titanic: The Story of the Great Omar by Rob Shepherd
First Edition Published by Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, and Zaehnsdorf, London in 2001
Unique Onlaid Leather Binding by Scott Kellar
Full Title: Lost on the Titanic: The Story of the Great Omar: a jeweled binding of the Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in 1911
Binding Details: Lost on the Titanic is a unique fine binding designed and executed by Scott Kellar in 2002. The binding is a laced into boards style binding covered in full black Harmatan goatskin leather with leather onlays with gold and blind tooling. There are maroon Bugra endsheets with handsewn red silk endbands. The edges are colored black and burnished. Scott Keller has included the original tooling tissue used to design the binding. The book is housed in a custom made cloth covered clamshell box with a leather label containing the title and authors name in gilt.
The book measures 13” x 9.75” x 1”
Book Details: This is the first edition of Lost on the Titanic: The Story of the Great Omar a jeweled binding of the Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in 1911 published by Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, and Zaehnsdorf, London in 2001.
Lost on the Titanic is the story of the The Great Omar, a magnificent jewelled bookbinding that was lost in the Titanic disaster in 1912. The title 'Lost on the Titanic' is taken from a newspaper headline of 1912 that proclaimed that the world's most magnificent binding had gone to the bottom of the Atlantic. The article described how the binding had taken two years to make and was covered in over a thousand jewels.
The Great Omar was the most elaborate and ambitious example of the bookbinder's craft and the magnum opus of its creator Francis Sangorski. The story of how this book came to be made is a fascinating insight into a creative process. It is also a human story, a tale of ambition and pathos that ended in the early and tragic death of it's creator. Above all, it is a story of how a great artistic endeavor can live on as the creative inspiration for a company that survived against all the odds.
Artist Statement: The ‘Great Omar’ is commonly considered to be the most beautiful and elaborate binding ever bound. Tragically, it was lost with many other treasures on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. Francis Sangorski drowned by accident only ten weeks thereafter. The story of its binding and attempted re-creation (also plagued by tragedies) is chronicled here. Rob Shepherd recovered the glass-plate photographic record of this binding and brilliantly re-created the appearance of the binding through its color descriptions and computer enhancement.
As a binder I was and am in awe of this lost work. In finding a suitable and worthy design for this publication I examined the re-created images of the binding. The front doublure of the binding has a magnificent coiled snake. I took the snake, manipulated its shape and markings, creating a design that I then duplicated (one mirroring the other) and then turned upside down on the covers. The images create opposing S’s signifying the partnership. They descend into the ocean within a pattern of bubbles or perhaps the rivets of the doomed Titanic.
Scott Kellar’s signed artist statement for “Lost on the Titanic” will accompany the book.
About the Artist: A master of traditional fine bookbinding, Scott Kellar has been working intimately with books for over 40 years. Introduced to bookbinding as a hobby in 1972, his commitment to the craft was immediate. While pursuing a career in book conservation, Scott’s love of books expanded into the realm of design binding, where the art of the binder becomes integral to the book, adding yet another layer of imagery and interpretation to the work of the author. As a result, his artistic works have been featured in book art exhibition venues local, national and international. Awards won include the ‘Coup De Coeur’ award at the Biennale Mondiale de la Reliure D’Art, The Society of Bookbinders Award for Forwarding and the Fine Binding J. Hewit & Sons Ltd. Award. His studio in located in Chicago where he also teaches to share both his skills and vision.
Condition Report: The binding and clamshell box are in FINE condition.
Photographs of the binding and the clamshell box appear in the photo section of the listing.