Carolyn Trant, “Who Killed Cock Robin”

Composite picture showing wood veneer cover, closed, tied with hemp tie; and opened pages before cover attached, and single pages before assembly.


More opened pages viewed from the first side of the concertina book with an enlargement of Rook page before folding.


4 single unfolded pages


2 views of second side on the left; further views of first side on the right.


View of book exhibited with small installation of Cock Robin’s grave with black ‘birds of the air’; plus Fly page before folding.


Artist: Carolyn Trant (Lewes, East Sussex, England)

Title: Who Killed Cock Robin (2011)

Medium/technique(s): woodcut printing

Edition size: 13

Number of pages: 13

Dimensions, open: 9″ X 11″

Dimensions, closed: cover heights vary up to 14″ x 6″


Artist Statement:

Originally a painter, I make Books as Art because I find the variety of formats I can use more exciting than pictures or objects on a wall. They can be playful without having to lose seriousness.

I enjoy working with contemporary poets, and myths and stories from popular culture and deep in our bones.

Who Killed Cock Robin is a very old nursery rhyme, not well-known now by children, but hidden deep in the psyche of older adults. I make art and books to find out about myself and the subject I am exploring. I wanted to immerse myself in the complex roots and imagery of this extraordinarily powerful rhyme through visual intuition.

The ‘wooden’ boards are like a tree enclosing the world of the birds and insects. The rhyme continues in an endless loop around both sides of the concertina book. Text and image attempt total integration.

The 13 woodcuts, 4-5 blocks to each image, use thin layers of printing ink to build up rich colours on thin paper; I had in mind the particular feel and colour palette of a Marvel comic.

It folds very flat into its tree but opens out into quite a chunky little installation.

I don’t like books to look too precious so I try to avoid using blank white paper unless it is irregular enough to accept handling and marks, and I prefer to photograph this one outside in the landscape if possible.