Nelson & Emma, another great work from Pacific Editions
(Pacific Editions) NELSON & EMMA: Aphrodite & Ares Contemplate Admiral Nelson & Lady Hamilton. Text written by Charles Hobson who also designed the edition. San Francisco. [Fall and Winter of 2007-2008.] 41p. 10 “ x 11” x 1”. The book is built around five signatures called “intermezzos” attached to a concertina spine. Each intermezzo has a unique abstract acrylic painting on paper; an image of an historic sea battle printed on transparent film; a Renaissance-era painting of Aphrodite colored with acrylic wash; and a page with cutout windows. The cover and slipcase have been covered in a mouldmade paper called Canal made in Quebec that has been embossed with a pattern of netting for the slipcase. The cover of the book contains a lenticular photograph of an age-of-sail battle scene overlayed with a painting of Aphrodite by Titian who looms over the battle. The lenticular photograph shifts the view between the two images as the cover is tilted. The frontispiece images of Nelson and Emma have been made as two-layer monotype portraits which have been reproduced as high-resolution digital prints on transparent film. They have been hinged so as to permit the top image to be lifted away to reveal a more disquieting view of each. The book concludes with a pop-up square-rigged vessel containing the images of Admiral Nelson and Aphrodite. One in a limited edition of thirty-five copies made during the fall and winter of 2007-2008. New.
From the Prospectus: “In 1798 Admiral Nelson led a fleet of British wornwarships against the French at the mouth of the Nile with a dramatic victory. Several weeks later he sailed into Naples harbor and was greeted with a huge celebration and the rapturous admiration of the citizens, including Lady Emma Hamilton, the British Ambassador’s beautiful young wife. Soon they became lovers.
“In Greek mythology Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Ares, god of war, had a tempestuous affair which resulted in ridicule and embarrassment. Nelson & Emma records an imaginary conversation between Aphrodite and Ares about the admiral and the ambassodor’s wife, mortals who seem to embody the qualities of love and war that are the special purview of the the two gods. As the conversation between the two gods proceeds they pull strings that lead to a net of disapproval and scandal being thown over the two mortals.
“At the heart of the design of Nelson & Emma is an intention to show alternative perspectives about the events that transpire and to give life to the odd coincidence that love and war are tied closely together in both the affairs of the gods and the affairs of mortals. “