Virago celebrates 80 years of Rebecca with embroidered special edition

Virago celebrates 80 years of Rebecca with embroidered special edition

Virago Modern Classics is celebrating the 80th anniversary of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier with a special edition of the tale, which includes a gothic, hand-stitched embroidered jacket and new introduction from author Sarah Perry.

The suspenseful classic, which has given rise to numerous adaptations for the stage and screen - most famously the film adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock - was hailed by The Essex Serpent author Perry as "masterful, troubling and wickedly seductive".

The new edition will publish next March as a £14.99 hardback. According to Virago's senior designer Hannah Wood, the cover, conceived in hand-embroidered white cloth, embellished with gold, was inspired by a haunting scene in the novel where the new Mrs de Winter finds Rebecca’s azalea-scented, monogrammed handkerchief.

"I was inspired by this," said Wood. "Whilst being light in colour palette, and therefore a good contrast to the dark covers we have produced in the past, it still felt gothic, and the craft that goes into such an item suited the ‘luxury’ edition part of the brief. I set about creating my own monogram, using the ‘R’ and the iron gates synonymous with Manderley. Once I had created an illustration that wrapped around the whole jacket, the wonderful team at Hand & Lock, a specialist embroidery firm, brought the design to life. The complete jacket image was created on fabric, with the central ‘R’ carefully padded and hand-stitched. All the embroidery has been done at the true scale of the jacket, so that it feels really authentic, and the finished design will be embellished with gold."

Daphne du Maurier’s son, Kits Browning, said Rebecca was "eighty years and still going strong". 

"Rebecca has never been out of print and what a wonderful way to celebrate Daphne du Maurier's classic novel than with this new stunning edition, together with a splendid new introduction by Sarah Perry," he said.