Special Editions

A new exhibition opening this week at the V&A's National Art Library celebrates seventy years of The Folio Society, and explores the publisher's enduring legacy...

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The first Folio Society title: Tales By Tolstoy, The Folio Society edition 1947

Founded in 1947, The Folio Society has spent the past seventy years publishing handsomely illustrated and carefully-crafted editions of classic works of literature, driven by the belief that "the literary content of a book should be matched by its physical form". Folio Society publications have long been admired as much for the high quality of their production as for the exemplary illustration and design they display, and upholding such high standards for seven decades is an achievement not to be sniffed at. The Society's history and legacy will be explored this autumn in a new exhibition, The Artful Book, opening tomorrow at the National Art Library in London's Victoria & Albert Museum.

The exhibition will include a copy of The Folio Society's first ever publication, an edition of Tales By Tolstoy from 1947, alongside a wealth of material from the Society's archives, including original commissioned illustrations and artwork, publications, pamphlets, documents and correspondence. A reading corner has also been created within the Library, allowing visitors to explore a range of Folio Society titles first-hand. For a dose of inspiration for lovers of literature, book design and illustration, it's not to be missed.

The Artful Book
The National Art Library, V&A, London
5 September 2017 – 28 January 2018
Admission free

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© Illustration by Neil Packer from The Folio Society edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, translated by Gregory Rabassa, 2006

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© Illustration by Anna and Elena Balbusso from The Folio Society edition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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The letter that The Folio Society founder Charles Ede would send to new members

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© Binding Illustration by Paul Cox from the Folio Society edition of The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse, 1996

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The Folio Society prospectus from 1948