University Archives


A Handcrafted Copper and Wood Engraved Signed Set of Fantasy Drawings: A Bestiary of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

A Bestiary of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Limited Edition limited to 21 copies, this being copy no. 9. Pilot Rock Press, 1977, folio, 15.5" x 14" . With 5 superb wood-engravings on Arches White paper, each signed and dated by the artist, Fred Brian.

Each with a descriptive leaf of "letterpress passages" contained in a letterpress portfolio with the soft outer portfolio of hand-made cover stock, crafted by the artist at the Blackstock Press, Illinois Wesleyan University.

Each wood engraved piece is a unique sheet and not attached to the wraps, and each has a rough cut lower edge which does not appear in the images. Near fine condition with small near professional repairs to a few intact tears to the outer portfolio soft cover.

Fred Brian was born in Normal, Illinois, in 1924 and raised in Bloomington, IL. For most of his life he has spent his summers in Gogebic County, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He taught at Illinois Wesleyan University from 1952 until his retirement in 1984. As early as 1947 he began studying printmaking, and in 1950 he enrolled at the Art Department, University of Iowa.

This work was his first piece which was later followed by similar limited edition sequel created 11 years later. We were not able to locate any other copy of this original 1977 printing, however an example of his sequel from 1988 is listed for over $1800. A unique piece described by the artist/printer as "a very free adaptation of the type of book that was popular in the late Middle Ages … The frontispiece is an engraving on copper, the rest of the prints are wood engravings …"

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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