The Bibliophile's Adventurers Club

Exemplars of bookish delight

For lovers of illustration

One of the most magical aspects of book collecting lies in the color plates.

Plates, you see, are whole page illustrations printed apart from the text. The rarest of color plates were crafted before mass production, where a black outline of the image was printed onto the page, and then the artist would manually add colors.

They are, quite literally, miniature works of art.

Take William M. Timlin’s The Ship that Sailed to Mars, for instance . . .

TheShipThat SailedToMars

Timlin, an architect and illustrator, started this book for his son in 1921. It took him two years to complete . . .

TheShipThat SailedToMars2

The end result: 48 pages of calligraphic text + 48 fantastical color plates . . .


TheShipThat SailedToMars3

The publishers were so taken with the book, they printed it without typesetting . . .

The Ship that Sailed to Mars (1923) cover

Needless to say, copies of this book cost a pretty penny. But if you have the means, it’s the perfect gift for the illustration lover in your life (and no, I’m not getting paid to write this post!).


  1. Wow, that’s definitely one gorgeous book. $5,000!!!

    • amelia

      4 November 2013 at 7:15 am

      I know. *sigh* Also, you can tell books are my Achilles heel . . . I didn’t bat an eye at the price. I know I can’t afford it, mind you . . . but I still felt it would be totally worth it, if I could. 🙂

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