A title from The Old School Press 

Winter Light

Atmospheric watercolours by Hugh Buchanan with texts by Peter Davidson  

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About the book

Out of print

Winter Light brings together a group of Hugh Buchanan’s haunting watercolours of great rooms seen by the low light of winter, with texts by Peter Davidson about the artist's travels through remote places and cold landscapes. The rooms in the pictures are shown as if opened up for a solitary off-season visit, a locked and frozen house as it might be seen by a tradesman making a repair, or a visiting antiquary, shutters opened for one day to let in the brief light.

The text and images evoke a timeless season: rooms never meant to be heated, chambers of stillness and frost, light which hardly rides clear of the horizon. Light striking upwards, snow light, refraction. Shadows of glazing-bars, ladders of winter light across panelling and floors. Silence and the frosty sun moving about the rooms. The book also evokes the poetry of the provinces after the hour has gone back, the melancholy of off-season, almost-empty hotels. Days below zero, when the winter country has sunk into itself and its past. Holly bush and yew tree. Silvered grassland. Mist stirring in the spinney. Antiquity remembered. Worn stone in a net of hoar-frost.

Peter has written two complementary narratives for the book: one follows the sequence of Hugh’s fourteen images as the light and colours change with the moving season, while another takes us on a visitor’s winter journey, moving now through space as well as time. The structure of the book – allowing shutters to be opened to reveal the images – also separates the two texts, whilst letting them run together in parallel.

Hugh Buchanan has developed a major reputation as a watercolourist with a special interest in interiors, one exhibition at the Francis Kyle Gallery focussing on libraries. In this new title we reproduce fourteen of his watercolours of interiors, ranging in temperature from the autumnal glow of a silent room to a chill and airless corridor in winter. 

An opening from the book

The book has a slightly unusual structure. There are three 'openings' where inner leaves fold out to form a four-page spread displaying four of Hugh Buchanan's watercolours with texts by Peter Davidson. This is one of those spreads opened up.

Also, a longer narrative runs through the backs of these pages and can be read without opening them up, as if a normal book. In this way, two narratives run in parallel.

About the edition

Peter Davidson’s texts have been printed - letterpress of course - in 14pt and 18pt Caslon Old Face from the Stephenson Blake foundry. Hugh Buchanan’s images have been reproduced digitally using archival quality inks, and 330gsm 100% cotton Somerset papers have been used throughout. The book is cased in heavy boards bound in full calf-skin in a chilly aqua colour with a crushed effect. Grey silk ties bring the boards together at the fore-edge. A single silver ray is debossed on the front board and the title is similarly debossed in silver on the spine. The book is approximately 420mm tall by 300mm wide (16 ½ in. by 11 ½ in.).

The edition was of 100 copies at £280 after publication with a further 25 not for sale.

You can find out more about Hugh Buchanan's work at his website.

What others have said about the book

'A beautiful and moving production' 'A stunning production' 'An extraordinary title ... [offering] beautiful prints of watercolors depicting still life interiors from home that feature rich colors and the soft light of winter.'

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