FIRST EDITION & THIRD PRINTING. Masquerade is a childrens book, written and illustrated by Kit Williams, which sparked a treasure hunt by concealing clues to the location of a jeweled golden hare.
Created and hidden somewhere in Britain by Williams. It became the inspiration for a genre of books known today as armchair treasure hunts. Challenged by Tom Maschler, of the British Publishing firm of Jonathan Cape, to "do something no one has ever done before" with a children's book.
Williams set out in the 1970's to create a book of paintings that readers would study carefully rather than flip through and discard. The book's objective, the hunt for a valuable treasure, became his means to this end. Masquerade featured 15 detailed paintings illustrating the story of a hare (named Jack Hare), who seeks to carry a treasure from the Moon (depicted as a woman) to her love object, the Sun (a man). On arriving at the sun, Jack finds he has lost the treasure, and the reader is left to find its location. Along with creating the book, Williams crafted a hare from 750 millesimal (18 carat) gold and jewels, in the form of a large filigree pendant on a segmented chain.
He sealed the hare inside a ceramic hare-shaped casket (both to protect the prize from the soil, and foil any attempts to locate the treasure with a metal detector). The casket was inscribed with the legend.
On 7 August 1979, Williams (accompanied by celebrity witness Bamber Gascoine) buried the casket at a secret location within England. Williams announced that his forthcoming book contained all clues necessary to decode the treasure's precise location within a few inches. At the time, the only additional clue he provided was that it was buried on public property that could be easily accessed. To ensure that readers from further afield had an equal chance of winning, Williams also announced that he would confirm the first precisely correct answer sent to him by post.
If I was to spend two years on the 16 paintings for Masquerade I wanted them to mean something. I recalled how, as a child, I had come across'treasure hunts' in which the puzzles were not exciting nor the treasure worth finding. So I decided to make a real treasure, of gold, bury it in the ground and paint real puzzles to lead people to it. The key was to be Catherine of Aragon's Cross at Ampthill, near Bedford, casting a shadow like the pointer of a sundial. The solution to the Masquerade puzzle is elaborate!
11.1 inches tall by 8.6 inches wide. The book is a hardback, issued without a dustjacket. Decorated boards, spine intact and in a very good condition. Beige coloured endpages front and rear. There are 15 beautifully decorated illustrations, that hold all the clues to the discovery of the jewel.
Light soil mark to rear of title page, otherwise all pages are clean. Unpaginated, the pages are all clean and tightly bound.Bonus is a glossy image of Kit Williams holding the golden hare. The item "KIT WILLIAMS FLAT-SIGNED TO TITLE PAGE MASQUERADE GOLDEN HARE HUNT 1979" is in sale since Tuesday, November 27, 2018. This item is in the category "Books, Comics & Magazines\Children's & Young Adults\Fiction\Children's Fiction". The seller is "booky-wooky" and is located in EAST SUSSEX. This item can be shipped worldwide.