A title from The Old School Press 

Jump of the Manta Ray

A poem in Spanish by Carmen Boullosa, translated by Psiche Hughes, with images by Philip Hughes

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About the book

In print

Inspired by the sight of a giant manta ray leaving the water, Mexican poet Carmen Boullosa has written this epic and erotic poem for which Psiche Hughes has prepared an English translation. The two texts run in parallel, interspersed with twenty-nine images by Philip Hughes. A further twenty images accompany the book in a portfolio.

Hughes has worked before with Boullosa on a cycle of lithographs to accompany her epic poem The Elysian Garden, also translated by his wife Psiche. For this new collaboration he has prepared over fifty photographic images, digitally manipulated, echoing the imagery of the poem, and taken from seas and sea-shores around the globe. The Tate Gallery in St Ives and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in particular have shown exhibitions of his work. Amongst the images in Jump of the Manta Ray are some from Antarctica, taken when Philip was there as an official artist. His major one-man exhibition In Antarctica was held in September/October 2003 at Francis Kyle Gallery.

Copies have been purchased by the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, and the British Library Special Collections Department, London. A number of major collections in the USA have also obtained copies.

The book was short-listed for a British Book Design and Production Award in the 'Limited Edition / Fine Binding' section in November 2003.

One of Philip Hughes's images from the book


About the edition

When we first received the texts and images from Philip and Psiche Hughes it was clear that a powerful image needed a robust design. Choosing a typeface was hard. It needed strength with dignity, and the only metal face that I could imagine working was Will Carter's sinewy Octavian. This was easier said than done: only three sets of matrices were sold by Monotype for the face, which was only ever cut in 14pt - an ideal size for this book however. (For more of the story behind this, click on the 'cuttings' button above to read cuttings from our newsletters.) The result has been very gratifying, the face printing beautifully on the heavy Somerset paper we have chosen to complement the Somerset Velvet which is the chosen paper for giclée printers. A bright red solander box and one of Claire Maziarczyk's bold silver grey checks on the book and the portfolio carry through the theme of strength. The images pack a real punch, the vibrant colours looking wonderful - and 100% cotton papers and the latest in archival-quality inks mean that longevity is assured.

A solander box in red cloth holds the book and a portfolio. The text is printed letterpress on 175gsm Somerset paper, making a handsome book of about 340mm (13.4 inches) high and 300mm (11.8 inches) wide. Twenty large images (170mm square) have been printed on 330gsm Somerset Velvet paper: they come on separate sheets in the portfolio, all signed and numbered by the artist. Two other images act as frontis- and tail-piece for the book. Twenty-nine smaller images (70mm square) appear throughout the text. All the images are listed in an index locating them to the sites where Hughes took the original photographs, from Scotland to Antarctica. A Maziarczyk paste paper covers the boards of the book and the portfolio, each of which has a grey spine. The edition consists of 60 copies of which 50 are for sale. Each copy is signed by the poet, translator, artist, and printer.

The price per copy is 1,500.

Find out more about the book

View five of Philip Hughes's images from the book:

See a sequence of twelve images of the book:

See how the book was printed:

see three photos taken at the Star Gallery exhibition The book and the images that went into it were exhibited at the Star Gallery on Castle Ditch Lane in Lewes, Sussex, in March 2004. Click on the blue pointer for images of the show and of the collaborators.
see three photos taken at the Star Gallery exhibition Click and pick up a pdf of the index page showing thumbnails of all the images in Jump of the Manta Ray.
see three photos taken at the Star Gallery exhibition A printed announcement for the book is available - please let us know if you would like a copy.

What others have said about the book

'the images are very haunting and it is a beautifully assembled work'

You can find details of all our plans and books in print
via the homepage of our catalogue website
and you can buy online at our shop.


Copyright Martyn Ould 2023