Plato: Symposium

translated by Tom Griffith
introduction by Anthony Quinton
ten full colour page illustrations by Tom Phillips

hardcover: 66pp
Folio Society

Notes on this work

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Plato's Symposium Plato's Symposium Plato's Symposium Plato's Symposium Plato's Symposium Plato's Symposium

I first came across the skilled hatching and cross-hatching of late nineteenth century engravers in Boy's Own Annuals which my brother and I collected (and somewhat guiltily kept back) for wartime salvage. Also lurking in these splendid volumes (and their sister annuals of the Girl's Own) are occasional fold-out lithographs of serried ranks, or savage beasts, or moral moments from English history. I took advantage of the strange colours and textures unique to their process to accompany Plato's Symposium, a work that defies illustration in the normal sense but is rich in prods to the imagination. Thus, by a short cut, an economically produced book of the present could be illuminated with craftsmanlike lithographic richness. At least that was the idea. Somewhere along the line however my calculations slipped up and no such magic happened.

The employment of particles of the printed world as tesserae in a paper mosaic is perhaps the purest use of collage. Here the fragments, freed from their original context, become a special kind of drawing tool or, in the case of coloured elements, a palette with a range in part beyond the painter's normal resource of mixable colour.

Works and Texts to '92, p121