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PHILLIPS, TOM. Cafe Society I (Cursory Rhymes). Micrographic diary notes, collage, manuscript writing, and drawings in watercolor, variously colored inks, and gouache, by Phillips, over a printed copy of Humbert Wolfe's Cursory Rhymes, (Ernest Benn Ltd., 1927). 8vo, rebound in painted boards with window revealing title and remnants of original spine label, by Bookworks, London. unique copy. (SA) London, 1993
The first of a set of Phillips's verbo-visual diaries that document his visits and activity over several years at the Royal Academy of Arts where he curated. The title refers ironically to the various worker's cafes around London, then dwindling in number, where he would lunch and write in the volumes. He gave the diaries titles to indicate their main subjects, such as 'Money Matters,' 'Going Places,' and 'Africa,' but most were not entirely self-explanatory. The volumes, as they were filled and replaced, acted as 'a kind of autobiography in word and image akin to those exploded diagrams one sees in technical magazines.' He chose the readily available used copies of Humbert Wolfe's Cursory Rhymes (Ernest Benn Ltd 1927) 'whose short and mostly meretricious verses were presented, in the manner of fancy poetry books of the period, amidst almost criminally generous margins. Luxurious blank pages are also present as well as, less fortunately, horrid illustrations by Albert Rutherston.'