Hand Carved Antique Book Sculptures by Adele Moreau

Adele-Moreau-Birds-and-Butterflies

London based artist Adele Moreau constructs altered books from a variety of found media such as vintage encyclopedias, natural history books and illustrated science manuals. The beautiful 19th century antique books she uses for her sculptures contain hundreds of original illustrations and engraving which she carefully cut out and dissect, editing as she goes to reveal a hidden world inside, giving the books a new lease of life. By re appropriating discarded items and preserving and enhancing what is often overlooked, she transforms them into objects of fascination.
 
Her current series of book carvings are inspired by the work of American artists such as Brian Dettmer. The original illustrations are carefully selected page by page and delicately hand-cut to reveal a hidden narrative while still keeping the integrity of the original book intact.

Adele-Moreau-Wonders-of-Science
Adele-Moreau-Homes-Without-Hands

Her favorite illustrations tend to be by the Victorian natural history writer and engraver Rev J G Woods who in his day gave lectures on zoology, which he illustrated by drawing on a black-board or on large sheets of white paper with colored crayons. Each book has a particular theme, usually the natural world, science or astronomy. Each of these books roughly take from a few days to weeks depending on the intricacy of the images. The hand colored books take the longest as it’s a form of miniature painting, she can spend an hour painting just one small butterfly or bird.

Adele-Moreau-Some-Wonders-Of-The-SeaAdele-Moreau-In-English-Woods

“I play around with those images trying out different combinations until it feels just right. For me it’s important that the images start to connect with each other and a story unfolds but I never really know what to expect; it’s fun and surprising for me as each book takes shape.” – Adele Moreau

Adele-Moreau-In-Bloom-The-Amateurs-Greenhouse-and-Conservatory

Be sure to check out her brand new collection of book sculptures at Hampstead Affordable Art Fair this month, 16-19 June, with Store Street Gallery.

All images courtesy of Adele Moreau

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