The Storm and Other Poems: the making of a print

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Here you will shortly be able to read in more detail about how artist Erlend Brown created a print of the cover image of The Storm and Other Poems using, as the starting point of the process, the printer’s block made from the original drawing by artist Ian MacInnes, a friend of George Mackay Brown from his schooldays.

A nephew of George Mackay Brown, Erlend Brown inherited a signed copy of The Storm (1954) from his uncle soon after the poet’s death in 1996.

Aged just seven when The Storm was published, Erlend would later provide images for some of George Mackay Brown’s work in the years ahead.

The cover of The Storm was designed by GMB’s close friend from schooldays, the artist Ian MacInnes. It shows the title at the top and the poet’s signature below the cover image – a boat drawn up in a sheltered geo, a rough sea and the Hoy hills beneath a wild sky. Evidently pleased with the drawing, GMB wrote to one friend, writer, folklorist and bookseller Ernest Marwick, telling him ‘Ian MacInnes has drawn a fine frontispiece . . .’; and to another, farmer, antiquarian and local historian Peter Leith, remarking ‘The illustrations by Ian MacInnes are very fine.’

Responding to the Radio Orkney appeal for owners of the first collection of GMB’s poems to share their stories of the book, Erlend said he had his uncle’s signed copy of The Storm. he added:

I also have the printer’s block for the cover and the frontispiece.

These items were included among artefacts on view in the centenary exhibitions at the Pier Arts Centre and in the Orkney Museum in 2021.

Erlend was keen to use the printing block to see if he could make a new print of the book cover. He was accompanied in the printing studio by Huw Williams of Radio Orkney and interviewed for the station’s celebration of the GMB Centenary, a special edition of its monthly arts programme, Tullimentan.

You can listen to the broadcast here:

Erlend then contacted the GMB Fellowship with a new – and generous – idea, to create a limited edition of prints as a new project for the Centenary which could be sold to raise funds for the work of the Fellowship.

And so it is that to mark the centenary of the birth of George Mackay Brown we are offering, with kind permission from the Estate of Ian MacInnes, a limited edition print of the cover of George Mackay Brown’s first published book of poems, The Storm and Other Poems (1954).

Letterpress print. Illustration by Ian MacInnes.

Edition size: 100. Paper size: 245mm x 325mm.

Hand-printed by Erlend Brown, with Carol Dunbar

at Soulisquoy Printmakers, Stromness.

Erlend delivered the edition of 100 prints in July 2022. It was with great sadness that we learned shortly afterwards of his death on 25 July 2022.

More details on the making of the print will be added to this page shortly.

Proceeds from the sale of The Storm print will be used in memory of Erlend and his work – we hope to fund a future project involving art and writing.

The Storm print can be purchased at the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness or ordered by email or else online by using PayPal (see below).

To buy a print . . .

Limited edition print of the cover of The Storm and Other Poems (1954)

This is a letterpress print of an illustration by artist Ian MacInnes (1922-2003) for The Storm and Other Poems (1954), the first collection of poems by writer and poet George Mackay Brown (1921-1996). Printed by Erlend Brown, with Carol Dunbar at Soulisquoy Printmakers, Stromness, 2022. Print including p&p: £75.


Where now?

The Storm and Other Poems

Click the title above to read about George Mackay Brown’s first collection of poems published in 1954.

Chasing The Storm

Click the title above to read about the Radio Orkney and GMB Fellowship project for the GMB Centenary to find out how far copies of The Storm and Other Poems have travelled and what stories their owners might have about them.

Stories of The Storm

Click the title above to read the accounts of the 1954 copies of The Storm and Other Poems.

GMB Centenary 2021

Click the title above to return to GMB Centenary 2021.

Use the links in the Navigation Bar at the top of the page if you would like to read more about the work of the George Mackay Brown Fellowship.

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