The V&A : Three-in-One : The Artful Book: 70 Years of The Folio Society



Ten years ago I visited the 60th Anniversary of the Folio Society display at The British Library. Suddenly, ten years later, its 70th birthday is being celebrated at the V&A. I LOVE Folio books. I have quite a few which I’ve collected over the years, mostly secondhand, some without their slipcases. Whenever my local Book Group decide on a classic book to read I search out the Folio edition to read. They are just so pleasant to handle, comfortable to read, have clear, easy to read type printed on quality paper and a great deal of care and attention to detail has gone into the illustrations commissioned from professional artists. There’s a good selection at The Leeds Library. Long live The Folio Society!

The small display at the V&A consists of a few glass cases, a short slideshow and a library trolley parked just inside The National Art Library where you can sit down and flick through a small selection of volumes.

Here are some that caught my eye :

Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. Illustrated by Charles Keeping, 1924-1988.

Between 1978 and 1986 Charles Keeping illustrated all Dickens’s novels for Folio. For this project he read each novel at least five times and produced over a thousand pen drawings. Keeping had a double advantage over Dickens’s own illustrators, being free of monthly instalment deadlines and working from the full text.


Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson; illustrated by Jane Lydbury


Deanna Staffo’s illustrations for Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’


The National Art Library Reading Room

The Artful Book Reading Corner

I found a book I must read … how can I resist that opening passage?

And illustrations from J. Sheridan LeFanu’s “Uncle Silas” by Charles W. Stewart

My own selection of Folios


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