23 Sept 2009: Auckland, New Zealand
About five years ago I began a project of restoration that is now poised to bear fruit in the form of a timeless and quite unique children’s book. It is called Princess April Morning-Glory and was completed in 1941. It was written and uniquely illustrated by my wife’s stepmother, Letitia Fairbanks, the niece of Hollywood’s very first royal family, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. A timeless tale of a fairy princess and her adventures in a magical realm, it holds a unique spot at the crossroads of children’s literature, Hollywood, history, and art.
The restoration itself was a meticulous digital rebuilding of watercolor illustrations and hand-inked calligraphy that had been created front-to-back on porous vellum, with the unfortunate results of bleed through over both image and word, as well as the natural ravages of time. With the vital and tireless help of my wife, Kelley, the restored book has now been placed in the publishing arena by Amanda Millner-Fairbanks, Letitia’s granddaughter and currently a journalist for The New York Times. I will be posting updates as we make progress on this collaborative endeavor. –– dg