Fine presses


Midnight Paper Sales, Wisconsin, USA

Lac Des Pleurs - Report from Lake Pepin, 2015



This masterpiece from America’s extraordinary wood-engraver Gaylord Shanilec took seven years to produce. It is a hymn, a loving exploration of the lake (the widest naturally occurring part of the upper Mississippi River dubbed ‘Lake of Tears’ by Louis Hennepin in 1680) close to his home in Wisconsin.

"The face of the water, in time, became a wonderful book….There never was so wonderful a book written by man: never one whose interest was so absorbing, so unflagging, so sparklingly renewed at every reperusal".
Mark Twain (from ‘Life on the Mississippi’).

Shanilec describes himself as ‘something of a modern day natural philosopher swimming in the wake of Darwin, or Thoreau.’

The text – commentary on passage through the lake by Louis Hennepin, George Feathersonhaugh, Henry Schoolcraft, George Catlin, Jonathan Carver, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Charles Latrobe, Henry David Thoreau, and Oliver Gibbs Jr., with related excerpts from Harriet Bell Carlander, George Wagner, Robert E. Coker, C.A. Lesueur, Thaddeus Surber, Paul Harder, and Mark Twain; an introduction by Patrick K. Coleman; and image captions and an epilogue by Gaylord Shanilec.

76 pages,380 x 255mm. Edition of 100. Hand-set in metal type, and printed by and on vintage Barcham Greene and Wookey Hole papers. The images – specimen prints engraved by Gaylord Shanilec including the American White Pelican, Shorthead Redhorse, White Bass, Sheepshead, Lake Pepin Mucket, Threehorn Wartyback and Giant Floater, along with two vignettes. were all printed on Zerkall paper. A foldout map of the lake, engraved by Shanilec, was printed on handmade Japanese kozo paper, and 30 ‘text figures’ of fish were printed from the original electrotypes unsed in the 1920 publication Fishes and Fish-Like Vertebrates of Minnesota, by Thaddeus Surber. The books were bound and boxed at Booklab II with cover paper marbled for the edition by Jemma Lewis from an original photograph of pebbles in water.

See the complete book on our Instagram feed.

£5,000 (plus P&P and insurance)

Plunging, 2009
Edwidge Danticat with wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec


This extraordinary story/poem by the award winning Haitian author Edwidge Danticat of a builder who falls from the 26th floor of a nearly finished condominium building in Bal Harbour, Florida will linger some while in the reader’s mind, its horror underlined by the cool still beauty of Schanilec’s engravings.

21 pages, 140 x 188mm, edition of 115, printed by Gaylord Schanilec and Mary Ellen Niedenfuer with two coloured wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec. Bound in cloth and contained within a slipcase. Signed by Edwidge Danticat and Gaylord Schanilec and numbered.

£100 (plus P&P and insurance)