New York: Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1929 & 1930. First editions. Octavos [21 cm]; 1/4 black cloth over black and white illustrated boards. Both volumes near fine. In professionally restored publisher's slipcase. Matted self portrait in Fine condition. Item #35209
Ward's first and second "wordless novels" sold in the Jonathan Cape slipcase that has the same artwork as the boards of Mad Man's Drum. This set was issued with a signed self portrait of Ward. This set and print were likely made as a promotional piece and gifted to friends of the publisher and artist. The self-portrait was limited to 100 copies. Scarce
Ward wrote of the works "I had earlier believed that every block should be conceived in the simplest terms possible, then cut with an absolute minimum of tool work. I had worked on the premise that every image should be developed only as far as was necessary to produce a comprehensible statement for that particular point in the visual sequence. Now, with those earlier miles behind me, it seemed reasonable to take a different approach to the actual cutting the blocks. In God's Man, except for the use of round and flat gravers to remove the white areas, all the rendering of figures and landscapes had been done with a single line tool. I Madman's Drum, by contrast, I sought to develop a wider range of tool work and utilized small round gravers to break up a large dark area with small jabs of the tool, thus achieving a variety both of tonal effect and textural quality. At the same time, I put more emphasis on decorative patterns in such things as dress material and the walls of interiors, which I hoped would not only result in richer and more varied impact from block to block but also help the reader identify recurring characters and backgrounds more readily as the story developed."