Folio Society at 70 – One Hundred Years of Solitude in the V&A


It is always – whatever one might say to the contrary – interesting to know what one’s peers think of you. A birthday is as good an opportunity as any to elicit such views, and it was with this in mind that we started speaking with the V&A last year. Folio celebrates its seventieth anniversary in 2017, and that most distinguished of museums was interested in creating a display to assess Folio’s role in bookmaking over that time.

The display they have created is small but completely delightful, including some of our finest titles over the years and focussing on Folio’s pre-eminent role in both adult book illustration, and fine-book printing in general. To quote from their display text, Folio ‘seeks and nurtures new talent and challenges established artists to experiment, shrewdly matching illustrator to text’.

I thought I knew our archives well, but in the presence of the brilliantly curious brains of the V&A I was thrilled at the number of discoveries they made; from Marcel Vertès’s delicate, sumptuous etchings for Zola’s Nana, to picking out Neil Packer’s beautiful One Hundred Years of Solitude for a prime position in the timeline.


From the Folio Society Website.