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Details about the binding by Sue Doggett:

Winter's Tale Box.jpg
Winter's Tale book in box 1.jpg
Winter's Tale spine.jpg
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Winter's Tale open cover (underworld).jpg
Winter's Tale - cover (Winter).jpg
Winter's Tale underworld.jpg
Winter's Tale fissure.jpg
Winter's Tale Detail 2.jpg
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Winter's Tale Detail.jpg
Winter's Tale inner cover (Spring).jpg

A Winter’s Tale



I began with Shakespeare.

In the part of the play used to accompany the flower photographs, Perdita refers to the meanings of specific flowers (Rosemary, Rue) and more generally to the language of flowers and plants (it’s a shame that we don’t construct our bouquets to reflect our feelings such as the Victorians did). She also refers to  some of the classical goddesses, notably Proserpina, also known as Persephone (O Proserpina / For the flowers now that, frighted, thou let'st fall). In one version of the myth, Proserpina (Persephone) follows Dis (Hades) into the underworld and eventually, after the intervention of Ceres (Demeter), her mother, she is returned but only for six months of the year because she has eaten six pomegranate seeds whilst with Dis. The number of seeds varies according to the telling.

The most important aspect of this story, and also, the plot of ‘A Winter’s Tale’ was the concept of death and renewal. The changing of the seasons is bound up with the cycle of life both in nature and metaphorically for us as humans in terms of transformation and of life and death. Not long after I received the book I found myself in mourning for my father and thinking a lot about change and transience. I began drawing the remains of plants, in their winter stasis, desiccated and dry. When I eventually got around to starting this project a couple of months later, I referred back to one of these drawings, a head of cow parsley, which is where I began.

The binding refers to the turning of the year. Winter, the death of the old season, appealed to me because it presented a complete contrast to the interior of the book which is vibrantly coloured with flowers of all kinds, and the dead grass is like a spectre at a wedding.

If winter is where the binding started, spring is where the book itself is fixed. The interior of the cover is lush and green. It is moss, sap, snowdrops and ferns. A damp, fresh and burgeoning landscape before the hot, drying sun bleaches the colour to lime and yellow.


By contrast, the rocky edge of the outer covers reveals the hot red interior of the earth and the underworld. It opens and closes, with provocation, to hide and reveal the pomegranate seeds.

The binding consists of an inner cover with two pockets to house the two outer folds of the book. These covers are hinged to a pair of shaped covers which protrude at the spine but also form a fissure when the covers are opened. A removeable shaped spine keeps the binding rounded when in its box and the Mingei-covered sides act as a barrier between the book and the leather pockets. The binding is hand and machine-embroidered with additional beading on the spine.


Sue Doggett

London 2023

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