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 . . .
Timlin, an architect and illustrator, started this book for his son in 1921. It took him two years to complete . . .
The end result: 48 pages of calligraphic text + 48 fantastical color plates . . .
The publishers were so taken with the book, they printed it without typesetting . . .
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!).