Clare Leighton 1933 folio “The Farmer’s Year”

This was sold as a reading or breaking copy: the cover is in a right state and there is a bit of other damage too but the 12 folio size prints are in good order so people take such a book apart and mount/frame the 12 full page engravings, sell them for £75.00 each and make a handsome profit! I am not going to though, I like seeing them in the context of the whole book, the text, the designed capitals and in a few cases tailpieces.

Leighton wrote and illustrated this title which was published by Collins in 1933. Some call it her masterpiece: I prefer the more meticulous work in Four Hedges of 2 years later but it is nevertheless a real gem. It portrays with a full page image, capital design and a brief text key activities for each month of the farming year at a time when machinery was in use but most processes were heavily reliant on manual labour and the countryside was full of working farm people, and could not be imagined otherwise, though there is mention of the vast and mechanized US farming systems in the text.



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