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Dante's Inferno

Dante's Inferno

Talfourd Press 1983
in a limited signed edition of 185

Translated, illustrated, designed and published by Tom Phillips.
Technicians include: etching: Nick Tite and John Duffin, silkscreen printing: Chris Betambeau, lithography: Nick Hunter, Typography: Ian Mortimer. 

A limited number of signed page proofs are available in the Shop 

Notes on this work

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Dante in his Study


Canto XXX iv

Canto XXX iv

Canto XXII iv

Canto XXII iv

Una Selva Oscura

Canto I i


Canto XXV iv

Levels of Allegory

Canto I iv Levels of Allegory

In July 1982, in his prelude to this publication, Phillips recalled finding a lavish, red, gilded edition of Dante's Inferno illustrated by Gustave Dore while collecting books for pulping for the World War II effort. It was one of the grandest books he had ever seen and stayed in his house for a while before it was taken to the depot. Phillips writes, I learned how early one's destiny can be sealed or at least signposted... Actually before I knew this [story] I had already, from reprints, recycled many of Dore's illustrations in quite another way.

Phillips intended that his illustrations should give a visual commentary to Dante's texts. As he writes in his notebook, The range of imagery matches Dante in breath encompassing everything from Greek mythology to the Berlin Wall, from scriptural reference to a scene in an abattoir, and from alchemical signs to lavatory graffiti. And the range of modes of expression is similarly wide, including as it does, early calligraphy, collage, golden section drawings, maps, dragons, doctored photographs, references to other past artworks and specially programmed computer generated graphics.

I have tried in this present version of Dante's Inferno which I have translated and illustrated to make the book a container for the energy usually expended on large scale paintings... The artist thus tries to reveal the artist in the poet and the poet helps to uncover/release the poet in the artist.

The book is made up of thirty-four cantos, the title pages and the colophon. Each canto is on 3 sheets (12 pages), making a total of 108 sheets (432 pages) in the book. There are 139 illustrations. The page size is 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches (42 x 31.5 centimetres).

The book is printed on 100% rag, acid-free, mould-made Inveresk (Somerset) paper, 250 gsm, made and tinted to the artist's own specification and incorporating his signature as watermark, by Inveresk Mills, near Wells, Somerset.

Typography by Ian Mortimer, and printed at IM Imprimit, London.
Binding by Pella Erskine Tulloch.
Project coordinator Anthea Toorchen.

Intaglio plates worked, proofed and editioned by Nick Tite and the artist at the Talfourd Press between 1979 and 1983, and completed by John Duffin in 1989.

Lithographs worked and proofed by Nick Hunter at the Talfourd Press, and editioned at the Dog's Ear Press, London between 1979 and 1983.

Silkscreens proofed and editioned under the direction of Chris Betambeau at Advanced Graphics, London between 1979 and 1983.

Additional silkscreens proofed and editioned by Brad Faine at the Coriander Press, London in 1982.