Updated: Jan 8
This is Centipede's Press' first book that is printed entirely letterpress. I have to confess I am not familiar with T.E.D. Klein and his works. Since I fell down the rabbit hole of signed limited collectible books, I think I have only read 10-25% of the books I own. My score goes up a little if I rate by author, but I probably won't beat 50%. I collect on the basis of aesthetics and production values. Once I manage to catch up with a book and an author, I make my final decision between keeping a book or selling it. However, there are several that I keep just for the production or collecting value. Children of the Kingdom will be a keeper. I asked Jerad what paper he used and despite his insanely busy schedule he found the time to kindly reply to my question and said it was "Biblio" acquired from Atlantic Papers. Since Atlantic isn't a paper mill but an advisor and distributor of specialty papers, I'm assuming they set Jerad up with 1 of my favorite paper mills, the Germany based Hahnemühle and their signature Biblio paper. This often comes in deckled edges and is watermarked like this (picture from Suntup Editions Bridges of Madison County).
Children of the Kingdom has neither that I could find. I guess it's easy to cut that out if you wanted or it's a paper from a different mill that's called Biblio. I challenge you to find the Hahnemühle watermark so my theory can be confirmed. When it comes to texture it's easy to find the similarity between my pictures of Bridges of Madison County and Children of the Kingdom as pictured below. The top two are Suntup Bridges obviously and the bottom two are Centipede's Children of the Kingdom.
I leave the final judgement up to you, but I put my money on Hahnemühle Biblio. Regardless of the true answer, it's a gorgeous paper stock: thick, lovely texture, and holds the impression of the letterpress really well. I love how the reverse effect was somehow created with a black background on the title page. The type pops out! Might the bibliophile in me, but that's bloody amazing.
This is my first encounter with artist Vladimir Zimakov, but not the last. I should have given my copy of Centipede Press' Something Wicked This Way Comes some more love, because he did 6 plates for that as well and the capped slipcase design for that book should have drawn my attention sooner including the boards once you remove Matt Mahurin's dust-jacket . Zimakov's art is a perfect fit for signed limited edition books. His linocuts lend itself perfectly for letterpress printing.
Jerad's layout for Children of the Kingdom really makes this edition and it's art shine. The pages where the page margins are fully printed with art stand out.
I've seen comments on Facebook where people asked if the entire book is printed like this. It's isnt, most pages have large empty margins which I am glad for. It hearkens back to the classic fine press books and allows for admiration of the paper quality.
If this book sets the standard for Centipede Press letterpress then the bar is raised high. Only 100 copies were made , mostly for subscribers and (early) supporters of the press, and I have no doubt this will be a much sought after edition in a few years down the line. It wasn't cheap and has already nearly doubled on the secondary market. All signature Centipede Press production values are top notch on this edition as well. From slipcase to ribbon marker to endpapers. All are really well executed to fit with the theme.
If you, like me, collect signed limited editions, admire letterpress on mould made paper, and love outstanding art, then do not hesitate to acquire this book for your library.
Stay healthy and keep reading.