typical. you wait twenty years for a canto and then three come along at once…

As regular readers will know, Barrie has been working on this project since the winter of 1989. He’s not been obsessively working on it obviously, he’s been busy with one or two other things since, but now that Philippa and he have got The Caseroom up and running, he has been working hard on the remaining images for The Inferno… Well. He says working hard.

Dante: The Inferno: Canto III: The Gates of Hell

This Canto was where Barrie’s interest in Dante began. When he was young, London was a lot smaller and he’s sure he remembers being able to walk a sign that welcomed you to Essex. One day there was a red line painted across the road and the words ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Essex’ spraypainted underneath it. A far more literate chum explained that the words referred to the inscription across the lintel on the gates to Dante’s Hell. A fascination with the books themselves, the illustrations of Gustave Doré, Robert Rauschenberg and Tom Phillips, as well as the writings of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle followed.

The rest is a long long time in coming.

Dante: The Inferno: Canto III: The Violent Against Nature and The Art Derived From Nature

Looking back on his younger self, Barrie seems to have been so much more certain about everything. His notes for this Canto deal with the idea of those who have sinned against Art. Originally he had planned to print fonts that he disliked, his rationale being that the designers had, obviously, sinned. The problem was that the fonts he didn’t like weren’t  available in the Caseroom at Chelsea, well, except for an odd neon inspired wood type font.

However. Now he’s come to look at The Caseroom Press Odds and Sods, he realises that they are all really rather beautiful in their own way. Whether this is because they are all that is left of their original alphabets and their rarity makes them precious, or whether he’s just grown up a bit and is a little more open minded…  Or maybe he was wrong all along.


Dante: The Inferno: Canto XXIV: The Thieves and Serpents, consumed and restored.

This forms part of a linked series of Cantos, where Thieves and Serpents bite and consume each other — their shapes burning and melting so that from the ashes of one, the form of the other is restored.

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