The Cheloniidae Press is the professional press of Alan James Robinson, in long-term collaboration with Joel Ginsburg, founded originally in 1979. All of the work of the Press is conducted in a collaborative manner, the key feature being the ongoing input of artist-director Robinson, who is famed for his realist depictions of sea life including birds, boats, and fishing. Due to its focus on fine art woodcuts, lithographs and prints, the Cheloniidae Press garnered a reputation as one of the finest producers of avian and sea-related art books – making it the first choice for partner-publishers who wished to produce bestiaries or maritime-themed works.
The Cheloniidae Press has had several incarnations through the years, due mainly to the collaborative team at the head of the enterprise. While Alan James Robinson (and his astounding artwork) remained a constant throughout, other Benefactors and Partners came and went, as funding was secured for limited edition runs. There have been, to date, three incarnations of the Press: The ABCedary Press (the earliest form that it took), The Cheloniidae Press (the most well-known, and most-oft sought for), and the current incarnation; The Press of the Sea Turtle.
The Cheloniidae Press, during the years of its operation worked on some marvellous pieces, both individual fine-art prints as well as full books. Some of the most famous are prints for Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, as well as An Odd Bestiary: A Compendium of Instructive and Entertaining Descriptions of Animals… All of these feature Robinson’s trademark realistic woodcuts or prints of animals, as well as sketches and reproduced water colors. A couple of the reassuring facts when collecting pieces from a Press like Chelonidae, is not only are you supporting a living artist and his team, but you know that you are also in good hands. Their printer, since the very beginning has been Howard P McGraph fine printers, who have worked with some of the best book artists, printmakers and fine art collections in American history (including Baskin, Moser, and Leighton).
When collecting, I would consider pursuing works from the Cheloniidae or ABCedary period, purely for the reason that they will be just that ‘tad’ rarer and hence more collectible. Consider editions in good quality of their wonderful work The Fowl Alphabet (lettering by artist and typesetter Suzanne Moore) which can be found for sale as low as a few hundred dollars.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Raven. Cheloniidae Press (1980). Etchings And Wood Engravings By Alan James Robinson; 100 regular edition and 25 with an extra suite.
Robinson, Alan James. Roadkills. Cheloniidae Press (1981). (Mcphee, John; Snyder, Gary; Stafford, William; Eberhart, Richard; Et Al.); A Collection Of Prose And Poetry; Illustrated with eleven wood engravings by Alan James Robinson printed from the original blocks on Cha-u-ke and one etching on Sako-moto and Mulberry; Ten of the wood engravings are full page and signed by the artist; total edition of 300 copies; 50 deluxe copies.
Robinson, Alan James. An Odd Bestiary. Cheloniidae Press (1982). A Compendium Of Instructive And Entertaining Descriptions Of Animals, Culled From Five Centuries Of Travelers Accounts, Natural Histories, Zoologies, Etc. By Authors Famous And Obscure; Illustrated with 26 initial linecuts and 26 woodengravings by Robinson with text compiled and annotated by Elizabeth Curtis; total edition of 306; 50 special copies
Lawrence, D.H. Tortoises. Cheloniidae Press (1983). Six Poems By D.H. Lawrence; Illustrated With Wood Engravings By Alan James Robinson; With An Introduction By Jefferson Hunter; 300 copies; 90 copies deluxe edition.
Poe, Edgar Allan. The Raven. Cheloniidae Press (1985). Illustrated with nine new wood engravings of Poes famous bird and etching of Poe by Robinson; 225 copies: 150 regular edition, 50 deluxe copies with an extra suite, 25 state proof copies
Bodio, Stephen. Atlantic Salmon. Cheloniidae Press (1988). 8 water-colored Etchings And Woodengravings By Alan James Robinson, calligraphy by Suzanne Moore; Essays By Stephen Bodio And Ted Williams; 50 Deluxe copies.
Shakespeare, William. The Birds And Beasts. Cheloniidae Press (1990). Text By Arthur F. Kinney. Illustrated With Woodengravings By Alan James Robinson; total edition of 155 copies plus 25 for exhibition binding.
Robinson, Alan J. H.P.M. Harold Patrick Mcgrath. Cheloniidae Press (1991). Volume Of Printed And Illustrated Anecdotes And Recollections By Friends, Artists And Fellow Printers On The Occasion Of The Commemoration Of The 50-Year Career Of Master Printer Harold Mcgrath; Including His Work For Leonard Baskins Gehenna Press; Wood engravings by Leonard Baskin, Barry Moser, Alan James Robinson, Fritz Eichenberg, and hand calligraphy; 250 copies.