The Purple Book

Angus Hyland & Angharad Lewis
Laurence King

Taking its name from the notorious periodical The Yellow Book, a 1890s magazine devoted to innovative graphic design, The Purple Book presents a lavish marriage of art and literature. Beneath the decorative detail inherent in much of the work, there is a surrealist undercurrent that weaves its way through each illustration.

The Purple Book revisits the language and imaginations of writers known for sensual and hallucinatory storytelling, including text by Edgar Allan Poe, James Joyce, Christina Rossetti and Georges Bataille. This work is compared with the art of contemporary illustrators whose output is influenced by the Symbolists and Surrealists of the 19th and 20th centuries.

All of the featured artists, who include Vania Zouravliov, Tim Hon Hung Lee and Laura Laine, carry a commitment to the hand drawn image. The immediacy and intimacy of drawing as a medium has long made it a powerful tool for exploring sexuality. The book pays homage to the tradition of the beautifully crafted publication; a tangible and sensual object of beauty and desire.

Fiona Martin