A love story - how The Song of Solomon came about
The Song of Solomon was a transitional work for Ron, and a move towards a more integrated approach to text and image. Ron is quoted as saying is was "not an illustrated book, more a feeling book - there was a certain atmosphere about the songs, so it was a more decorative and musical book'.
During its making he and Willow welcomed their fourth child (and only daughter) Jessica and perhaps this is why we find Ron is a more celebratory spirit.
Research in America led him to approach the text as series of eighteen songs, rather than as a single piece of writing, preferring to think of them as Hittite wedding songs, almost in a pagan folk tradition rather than as sacramental works.
Making the prints, as so often has been the case with Ron's work, found him faced with several obstacles. The militancy of the Union at Seven Corners Press, was making the production of the book and prints harder and harder. and, strangely biblical, the banks of the River Wey burst and flooded his Guildford studio, destroying much of the completed letter press works and Ron's paper supplies.
The work of Matisse's cut outs were in Ron's mind as he experimented with torn paper. He says "I cut out odd bits of paper from magazines and made a dummy book, in a much tighter way that I normally would have. I worked in a very instinctive, abstract way, cutting forms and just feeling my way into shapes and what those shapes signified without their being the real thing for expressing it in the most obvious way. I do this with masks too. I get a feeling for something which I then distil into another language, which isn't a representational pictorial language."
The book was underwritten by London Graphic Arts for 50 copies and his famous and supportive customer and collector, the actor Tool, used to send his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce to the studio to collect copies.