Adapted Bradel binding with pink goatskin at spine and head and tail of boards, printed paper sides with gold tooling. Coloured and applied gold edges. Pink goatskin doublures with blind tooling. Endpapers – manuscript laminated with printed Japanese tissue.
This is the first in a series of titles made into films by Stanley Kubrick.
No. 2 – 2001. A Space Odyssey. In the collection of the British Library.
No. 3 – The Shining. Binding in progress
No. 4 – Clockwork Orange. Binding in progress.
I had seen the Kubrick film of Lolita many times but when I came to read the book I was shocked at how predatory Humbert Humbert, the protagonist, really was and also how young Lolita is in the book. I wanted to reflect this in the binding and chose to depict famous images of young girls sexualised in film, art and advertising, especially those which had often been debated for their paedophiliac content. The binding should be pretty and yet thoroughly disturbing.
The covers are a collage of young girls as featured in art over the centuries. Images include photographs by David Hamilton (The Best of David Hamilton, 1976) and Sally Mann (At Twelve, 1988), film stills of Brooke Shields (Pretty Baby, 1978) and Jodie Foster (Taxi Driver, 1976), paintings by Balthus (Therese Dreaming, 1938) and Petrus Christus (Portrait of a Young Girl, 1460); Next girlswear catalogue, 2016.
The dotted spider’s web radiates out from an image of Jimmy Savile, posthumously described as one of Britain’s most prolific predatory sex offenders. It reflects a passage in Lolita in which Humbert Humbert writes “I am like one of those inflated pale spiders you see in old gardens. Sitting in the middle of a luminous web and giving little jerks to this or that strand. My web is spread all over the house as I listen from my chair…”
Inside the doublures are pale pink goatskin blind tooled with the nubile legs of a young girl. The protagonist obsesses over his “nymphet” as she drapes her legs across his lap.
On the endpapers are written the word Lolita, Lolita, Lolita over and over again filling the page as Humbert Humbert filled his diary “writing in my smallest, satanic hand”. But underneath are Lolita’s heartfelt words “Pur-lease. Leave me alone will you.”