A Satyr Against Mankind


by The Earl of Rochester

photos by Matthias Ritzmann

Broadside, 1679

310 x 214 x 9 mm

now to be found in the collection:

Fisher, UK

Single section stub binding in full leather dusk-rose goatskin with red edges, leather joints, light green coloured bord-à-bord doublures, and light rose flyleaves. The book is housed in a two-part slipcase covered in green decorated pastepaper.

The single fold broadside from 1679 was added to with four further folds of handmade paper on which linear graphics have been hand-drawn with a quill and inks. The section is sewn on a stub of blue metallic paper that additionally brackets the ‘textblock’ on either side with one sheet. Traces of a red edge decoration could be found on the broadside, so this was picked up upon for the additional folds. The book’s design is tooled in a free flowing arrangement of dots and tapered lines, and is executed in three shades of silver, three shades of blue and white colour pigment foil. A small cluster of white dots marks the head of the spine. The two-part slipcase is covered on the inside and neck with a mottled yellow paper and on the outside with a green decorated pastepaper. When closed, a small flash of the yellow interior remains visible. All papers used are hand-dyed.

‘A Satyr Against Mankind’ is a raging letter against the rational creature of mankind, making a heated argument for the sensual approach to live life. John Wilmont, 2nd Earl of Rochester, was a poet known for his wit, his controversial verses, and his excessive immersive attitude to life. The poem is thrown at the reader with all the authors’ might and the broadside gives the impression of great speed and energy, as it’s printing is blotchy, the ‘S’ of Satyr is the wrong way up and the lines are not printed but drawn by hand! The broadside has clearly been put out there quickly, sure to be received eagerly and with glee. This prompted me to include a series of linear drawings that, following the dimensions of the textblock, only show the dividing lines between an imaginary argument with a quick and swift exchange, and of which the poem is part of. The bindings design takes the event one step further, for now the lines have exploded and fly as sharp shards over the sides, flashing in the light as they pass.

bound 2021