Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Little Red Computer Signed by Ralph Steadman

In 1969, the typical computer was a large, bulky mainframe that was still a long way from becoming the compact machine we now live with. In his first book, The Little Red Computer,  Ralph Steadman imagines a student computer small in size but rich in emotion. Thirty-five years later, when computers had long since shrunk to the dimensions imagined by Mr. Steadman in his early children's book, he made a drawing of his title character on the front endpaper of a slipcased copy. Both the drawing of the computer and the inscription are in two colors, red and black. How do you make a drawing in black ink over red ink without having it smear? You don't...

Inscribed "From Ralph Steadman/Woody Creek/Aspen/Oct. 7th 2004."


eBay Listing as of September 28, 2016
eBay Item Description

Note:  "A Retrospective:  Ralph Steadman" is on view in  New York at the Society of Illustrators. What are you waiting for?

Do you know what I'd like to see here on this blog? No surprise there. I'd like to see different examples of books with original sketches by Ralph Steadman. So, what do you say?

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:

Attempted Bloggery's little red index


Monday, September 26, 2016

Emergency Mouse Signed by Ralph Steadman, Part 2

A copy of Bernard Stone's and Ralph Steadman's Emergency Mouse (1978) bears an original drawing of an impatient mouse thump-thumping his hind leg. It is currently offered on eBay for $129, more than three times what another copy previously shown on this blog sold for in 2008.

Signed Ralph Steadman with a sketch of the impatient mouse tapping "Thump Thump"

Ralph Steadman, Emergency Mouse, 1978

eBay Listing as of September 28, 2016

eBay Item Description

Note:  "A Retrospective:  Ralph Steadman" is now showing in  New York at the Society of Illustrators. Would I steer you wrong?

If you should possess or have access to a book or books signed, dated, inscribed, sketched in, or otherwise embellished by Ralph Steadman and if you should also wish to scan or photograph said book or books for potential inclusion on the blog, then please proceed promptly and forward these images to me.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:

Attempted Bloggery's rescue index


Ralph Steadman: The Dogsbodies Portfolio

What happens when a popular illustrator's fan base grows up and gains in affluence? Well, for one thing, some of that illustrator's earlier work may get reissued in deluxe portfolio editions. Some of his drawings may be published as limited edition prints. It's the publishing equivalent of all those '70s bands who are still touring because their fans are now well-off. A case in point here is Ralph Steadman's Dogsbodies, first published in 1970. This was a transitional year in Steadman's career. His iconic Alice in Wonderland artwork was done in 1967 but apparently not collected in book form until 1973. His collaboration with Hunter S. Thompson took off this year with the publication of "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" in Rolling Stone.

Was Dogsbodies a commercial success in 1970? One clue is the publication thirty years later of The Dogsbodies Portfolio, which includes the original edition of the 1970 book. There are seventy numbered copies of the portfolio plus an additional thirty artist's proofs. If there were one-hundered pristine copies of the 1970 book presumably still in the artist's possession in 2000, how successful could the book have been?

The Dogsbodies Portfolio has a number of quirks beyond the inclusion of the original softbound publication. That book is signed in brown ink—to distinguish it from the black printer's ink used in the published volume—where modern book collectors might expect to see the signature on the limitation page. That limitation page makes the egregious error of getting the name of the original book wrong, calling it "DOG BODIES." That's inexcusable. A diligent proofreader might also have added an apostrophe to the word artist's and a couple of hyphens elsewhere as well.

Ralph Steadman, The Dogsbodies Portfolio, 2000

The original illustrated book is housed on the left while the prints and limitation page re on the right.

Ralph Steadman or someone close to him had one-hundred copies of the 1970 first edition to lend to this project.

Ralph Steadman, Ink Hound, 21/70 + 30 artist's proofs
Does the second color of the print add anything to the original drawing?

The limitation page, 21/70, with a printed signature and numerous typographic errors

The original Dogsbodies of 1970 signed by Ralph Steadman in brown ink

eBay Listing as of September 26, 2016

eBay Item Description

Note:  "A Retrospective:  Ralph Steadman" is now showing at the Society of Illustrators. Through October 22.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Dogsbodies Signed by Ralph Steadman, Part 2

Rooke Books of Bath offers a signed copy of Dogsbodies (1970) by the irrepressible Ralph Steadman. The book is signed to Jane, possibly a publisher, and is further embellished with an illustration of a...of a...well, never mind!

Ralph Steadman, Dogsbodies, 1970

Inscribed "To Jane/[Dogs]ear publishes[?]/from Ralph Steadman/XX."
with a drawing of flatus—"Bang."

Rooke Books Online Listing, September 25, 2016
As long as we're on the subject and since you really deserve to know, here is Fart Check from The Ralph Steadman Book of Dogs.
Ralph Steadman, Fart Check
The Ralph Steadman Book of Dogs, 2011

Note:  I'm winding down my short series on Ralph Steadman. Now that I've got the last word on Steadman and dog farts, there really isn't much left for me to do...

"A Retrospective:  Ralph Steadman" is in town at the Society of Illustrators. Through October 22.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links:


Dogsbodies Signed by Ralph Steadman

Two weeks ago at the Society of Illustrators, Ralph Steadman signed a copy of Dogsbodies (1970) to illustrator Stephen Kroninger, adding a sketch of—wait for it—a dog. Mr. Kroninger has generously provided Attempted Bloggery with the essential documentation:

Ralph Steadman, Dogsbodies, 1970

Inscribed "For Stephen! from Ralph Steadman" with a sketch of a dog

O.P. is bookseller shorthand for Out of Print. This secondhand copy is now one of the most desirable copies of Dogsbodies on the planet.

The line emanating from the dog's hind leg has been added by hand, as have the splotches. I know, right?

Note:  Thanks again to Stephen Kroninger for sharing his unique book and for being a friend to this blogger. Learn more about Mr. Kroninger's artwork at His photocollages have been exhibited at MoMA. Impressive, right?

I'm just about finishing up my little run of Ralph Steadman posts, which consists mostly of signed books with original sketches. If you've got something more you'd like to share here—original artwork, sketches, rarities, random ink splotches, what have you—by all means pass it along. I'll get to it some day...

"A Retrospective:  Ralph Steadman" is showing at the Society of Illustrators. Get to it by October 22.

Attempted Bloggery's quick links: