An Animated Alphabet

This is not your average, white-bread alphabet book! Marie Angel is arguably the finest miniaturist to have worked in this century. Her luminous, delicate, and fanciful paintings are executed with the care and skill of a Medieval artisan, but her palette, as well as her figures, are entirely modern.

Almost thirty years ago, Marie Angel was commissioned by Philip Hofer of the Houghton Library, Harvard University, to create a new ‘Animated Alphabet’, one that would be comprised of animals Angel knew and loved (and her knowledge of animals, as well as of flowers, is both prodigious and entirely eclectic). Harvard published the results in a small, utterly delightful booklet, but printed the results only in black-and-white.

Now, for the first time, this phenomenal alphabet has been reproduced as it should be: in full color. Here are all twenty-eight drawings (every letter, plus title and colophon pages), printed on a paper nearly as sensuous as the vellum on which the originals were painted. This is a small bijou of a book, a jewel not only for collectors of alphabet books but for anyone who appreciates the genius of a consummate master doing what she does — and loves — best.

Marie Angel was an accomplished calligrapher and illustrator. She wrote and illustrated thirty books, including several books on calligraphy. She was born in Surrey, England, where she spent most of her life and completed much of her work.