A Humument

A Treated Victorian Novel



ISBN: 9780500292891 Category:

Tom Phillips


The final edition of the late Tom Phillips’s ‘defining masterpiece of postmodernism’.

In 1966 the artist Tom Phillips discovered A Human Document (1892), an obscure Victorian romance by W.H. Mallock, and set himself the task of altering every page, by painting, collage or cut-up techniques, to create an entirely new version. Some of Mallock’s original text remains intact and through the illustrated pages the character of Bill Toge, Phillips’s anti-hero, and his romantic plight emerges.

First published in 1973, A Humument – as Phillips titled his altered book – quickly established itself as a cult classic. From that point, the artist worked towards a complete revision of his original, adding new pages in successive editions. That process is now finished. This final edition presents an entirely new and complete version of A Humument. It includes a revised Introduction by the late artist, in which he reflects on the 50-year project, and 92 new illustrated pages.

Additional information

Weight 580 g
Dimensions 12.5 x 17.6 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 29 December 2022
Number of pages 392
Format Paperback / softback
Dimensions 12.5 x 17.6 cm
Weight 580 g


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Tom Phillips CBE RA (1937-2022) was a painter, writer, translator and composer. Collaborators included the filmmaker Peter Greenaway (A TV Dante), the novelist Salman Rushdie (Merely Connect) and the composer Tarik O'Regan (Heart of Darkness). Informing Phillips's work for half a century, A Humument appeared in many guises beyond book and exhibition form, including operatically in Irma, digitally as an app and aurally, read by the artist himself. Phillips held a 12-year-long position as chairman of the exhibitions committee at the Royal Academy in London, and also served as a trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum. He was appointed CBE in 2002.