Friday, April 03, 2009

The Dolittle Codex

While out shopping at a grocery store I found a copy of The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle (Written by Hugh Lofting, Publisher F.A. Stokes, 1922). While the wife browsed for snacks I checked out the donation table where customers drop off books to be sold for a modest donation to whatever worthy cause the store is supporting that month. Typically the table is usually overstocked with old travel books, regional geographical survey pamphlets and religious tracts. But this time around far more interesting fare had been donated by some unknown customers. There were a number of mainstream paperbacks, a few scholarly texts and other types of novels but the real prize on the table was the Dolittle book.

It was in great shape, boasted a color plate on the cover and it was full of ink illustrations. But the bonus was the color frontispiece (a copy of which was also the cover illustration). The frontispiece is about a character in the Dolittle book and is titled The Popsipetal Picture History of King Jong Thinkalot. The page tells a story and the layout is similar to a modern six-panel comic book format. Included on the next page is a tanslucent text overlay. When the page is turned over onto the frontispiece the text overlays a corresponding panel and describes each scene. The author, Hugh Lofting, is credited elsewhere as the artist for this book.

I've included each page separately and one showing the combined effect of the overlay. Click the pictures to make Gub-Gub-sized.



  1. OK, I'm officially jealous. There's nothing more satisfying than sifting through a whole pile of rough and finding a diamond.

  2. That's really awesome.

    Say, did you mean that the text overlay is translucent, instead of opaque? The last picture seems to depict the images showing through the sheet of text.

  3. Yes, I did. Corrected. I also meant to type King Jong but typed King Kong.


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