Roland Penrose: The Road Is Wider Than Long
Dating from 1939, this is one of only ten copies of the édition de tête of The Road Is Wider Than Long, Roland Penrose’s Surrealist paean to Lee Miller. The book was inspired by a trip the couple took throughout the Balkans by sea and automobile in 1938. Penrose gifted Miller the original manuscript (now in the collection of the National Galleries of Scotland), together with a pair of gold Cartier handcuffs.
The printed version on cream handmade Millbourn paper includes Penrose’s photographs with text in multiple typefaces and colors, juxtaposing external reality with internal thought. Penrose illuminated ten of the pages in watercolor and signed this copy with a dedication to Roy Edwards, a close friend who would translate verses by Valentine Penrose and assisted him on a book about Antoni Tàpies as well as his autobiographical Scrap Book 1900–1981. The book has photographic endpapers and its cover, comprising wood grain veneer boards, was designed by Surrealist artist Hans Bellmer.
Each copy of this special edition includes an original collage facing the half-title—here, a Surrealist landscape that combines direct painting with shapes cut from a black-and-white photograph of water. An additional tipped-in collage unique to this copy combines an illustration of people at the seaside with the image of a sculpture in a style reminiscent of Max Ernst, whose Une semaine de bonté (1934) Penrose helped to publish.