GOLMANN, Stephane

Ballades et Chansons de Gestes (Ballads and Tales) by Stephane Golmann followed by a note on Skiffle Music.

London: Privately published. 1959.

One of five copies privately published "for the pleasure of Felix, Jean, Michael, Felicia, Stéphane". 187x125mm. pp. 71 [1bl] with five blank leaves at the beginning and end. Bound by Henri Mercher in 1960, signed to foot of front pastedown. Boards are made of gold inlaid Plexiglas, the gold spelling out "Jean". Black morocco spine lettered in gilt. With the original slipcase. A striking binding in immaculate condition and an excellent example of Mercher's innovative design and technique in which he used unorthodox materials. Henri Mercher (1912-1976) trained with Robert Bonfils at the École Estienne. Mercher said that he was one of the worst students but on the evidence of this stylish, minimalist work this seems unlikely.
Presumably Stephane Golmann had the other four copies of this work bound in a similar fashion but we have found no record of them. Golmann was a fascinating figure: a singer songwriter in the French chanson tradition (the works in this book were recorded in 1966), he also led a shadowy double life working for the British Foreign Office and the United Nations before disappearing for a few years when, it was rumoured, he lived as a tramp. Cool bloke with an eye for a cool binding.

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