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How to lose yourself (or your art) in a book

March 1, 2015


I’m still searching for a neighbourhood where residents absentmindedly use $100 dollar bills as bookmarks. Last week I at least found a book in a part of the Fairview neighbourhood where someone had marked their place with a fine limited edition print, so I think I’m getting warm!

Twice as much art as I bargained for

Earlier this week I came across two thick Haynes car manuals left on top of a concrete parking curb. This was in a block of Fairview back alley known (at least to me) for its classic cars so I wasn’t surprised to see the manuals, which I have always associated with serious car nuts.


At first glance the most notable thing about these  two manuals — for the Renault 5 Le Car and the Datsun 240, 280 and 280z –were the black and white cover illustrations.

For 21 years, between 1971 and 1992, the cover of each Haynes manual featured a perfectly amazing cutaway technical drawing of the manual’s automotive subject by Haynes’ in-house illustrator Terry Davey, who produced 400 such intricate illustrations.


Two icons: a drawing by Terry Davey for Haynes of the Renault “Supercinq” or “Le Car”.

As a young aspiring illustrator in the 1970s I greatly admired Davey’s technical illustrations and I had the chance to pore over many of them at my leisure thanks to one of my foster fathers being in the autobody business.

So when I picked up the Haynes Renault manual last week it was to get a closer look at Davey’s line-perfect drawing of the little French supermini, done (I feel compelled to point out) with nothing more digital than his fingers, technical pens and French curves. But ooh la la, what a master he was!

What popped out from between the pages but a limited edition intaglio print of an onion-domed Orthodox church by someone who’s last name certainly began with a “B” and may have been close to “Baltart”.

Once again I left the print — I had neither an interest in keeping it for myself nor shopping it around in hopes it was valuable. It was enough for me to have seen and photographed it.

I tucked it carefully back between the pages where I found it and I left the manuals exactly where I’d found them.

This way some other binner could have the opportunity to discover the print or perhaps the person who put the manuals out in the first place could still recover something they had only put out accidentally.

I don’t know how the print ended up in the book, I just know that If I ever misplaced a piece of art between the pages of a book and then realized I had lost it by tossing out the book, well, I know that would fairly drive me nuts. Click the images to enlarge them.

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