George Washington, 1732-1799.
Washington's Dilemma; Sackcloth & Butternut, 1775-83: Letters. Edited by Danny Pierce; Illustrated with linocuts by Danny Pierce. Shorewood, Wis.: Red Door Studio, 1972. 45 x 30 cm.
Call Number: (BKRT)(FOP) E312.75 U5x
COLOPHON: Washington's Dilemma, Sackcloth and Butternut 1775-83 is the fourth in a series of limited edition books and portfolios to come off the press of the Red Door Studio. It is limited to one hundred copies numbered and signed by the artist-author. The text is set by hand in Caslon Oldstyle No. 471. The paper is Nekoosa Opaque Vellum. The plates and spots are linocuts. Edition number 6.
"In art school my goal was to be an illustrator. My choice of subjects included: the Revolutionary period, western period, and animals, especially horses. By the time I left school I did not make a distinction between illustration and fine art. If the art is good it can be used for both purposes.
"Washington's Dilemma; Sack Cloth and Butternut 1775-83 came into being from my helping Nels, my youngest son, paint lead soldiers. I became involved in the research of the uniforms of the Continental army, reading everything I could get my hands on. Before starting a block I cross referenced the uniform from three sources; the collection printed by the New York Historical Society, the Military Historical Magazine and colonial newspaper reports of deserters. My choice of linocuts was that I simply had a good source of it than I did of wood. Caslon Old style was the type face used by the Colonial printers. It was brought to America as ballast on ships. It was cast off from the print shops in England. I purchased new type from the American Type Foundry in New Jersey and continued using it even when some letters, such as the Fs broke easily. It added to the period I was working with.
"The text is excerpts from the 30 volume collection of Washington's letters commissioned by the Library of Congress dealing with the uniforms.
"To illustrate the hardship of Valley Forge, I rolled ink out on a metal plate, stepped in it barefoot, then onto the lino block and cut the offset image. Adding another block for the blood (red) the essence of the hardship came alive.
"The box for the text is covered in blue and buff buckram. The color of Washington's uniform and the box for the plates is the colors of a regular soldier's uniform, in this case the colors of an Artillery man. The lining inside the boxes represent a collection of regimental buttons.
"Washington's Dilemma was completed in three years. It took the longest of any of my books due to the research involved. I construct the boxes as the edition sells to avoid a storage problem. This was the last edition of 100 volumes. I prefer to create a new book than spend the time to print the excess over 30."