London: A Pilgrimage, by Gustave Doré
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I received an ad in the mail yesterday for EP's newest LE, "London: A Pilgrimage", by Gustave Doré. It doesn't appear to be on their website yet... but I am sure many of you received the same mailing. What are everyone's first impressions?
Unfortunately many of us do not get these LE mailings for some reason. Anyway you could scan and post the flyer for the rest of us?
Thanks for the scans, looks like a very nice volume indeed, though again fortunatly for me and my wallet not interested in this DLE. Which is fine by me, they seem to be keeping up a decent pace in getting them out on the market.
EP really seems to be hitting hitting Dore hard, and I'm quite happy about that! We had Crusades (sold out), and Divine Comedy (will sell out) and now London! Fantastic... the book looks quite large. If I had to guess a price I would say $400.
Does anyone have any updates on this book? Is EP still planning to produce? Any info on a ship date? I keep getting inconsistent stories from Customer Service.
Yes -- the book will be produced and is expected to be ready for shipment on November 25th.
Those who have pre-ordered must confirm their order by August 21st to avoid cancellation.
I received my copy of this today. And since I am one of the most vocal critics of the recent decline in Easton Press quality, I have to say that I had absolutely no issues with this volume in terms of production flaws. It was exactly as it should be. I looked especially hard for the usual culprits (silver overspray, banged up corners, different color leather peeking through, etc.).
I remember receiving a letter a few months back asking me to reconfirm my order for this set as "quality issues" had delayed production. I am only speculating here, but my assumption is that they were having problems with the type and color of leather they were using. The marketing brochure shows a more rich burgundy color than the final book product (yes, I know, post pictures, I will this weekend if no one beats me to it) which can only be described as a stronger hue of brown than burgundy. I was expecting something akin to Ovid or Aesop but instead it is more milky and brown. Also, it is a super smooth leather as has been common with these DLEs and not the heavily grained or textured leather pictured in the brochure. This observation in addition to the startling fact that the book color is rather drastically different from the slipcase (when they look to be the same color in the brochure above) leads me to jump to the purely speculative conclusion that they were continuing to have problems with the leather previously used and replaced it from a different source or a different grade and most certainly with a different color. Again, my guess is that the slipcases had already been manufactured and rather than throw them all away and start over, EP decided to still use them despite the color shade difference from the accompanying book.
The boards are very thick similar to the Ovid and quite pleasing in that regard. The spine has nicely indented gold gilt stamping, I do not have concerns that it has been merely oversprayed on and will wear easily with time. This is actually one of the better quality productions of stamping I've seen from EP recently. Although it was never promised in the marketing materials, I think this volume could have benefitted from the inside cover stamping (Florentine?) found in several other DLE sets (Lincoln, Three Musketeers, Gulliver, etc). The marbled endpapers were perhaps my biggest disappointment with the design of this volume. They are just simply boring and bleh. The color is nothing like the loveliness and vividness of the Aesop volumes (my personal favorite). They are not even as brilliant and bold as the somewhat maligned Prince and Pauper. They are just uninspired and uninteresting and rather subdued shades of brown.
But let's face it, we bought this not because we were dying for another EP DLE but because it contained the incomparable illustrations of Gustave Dore, one of if not my all-time favorite illustrator (yes, still kicking myself for passing on the Crusades volumes when they were still available! Hell, I even bought the waste-of-money Raven!!!!). The illustrations are copious throughout the volume and not just the elaborate full-page presentations that people will focus on but the smaller in-text illustrations throughout. I am very pleased with the quantity of these, and with the lovely opaque pearlescent cover in front of each full-page Dore illustration with the caption for the picture written on it (very similar if not exactly like those found in Romance of King Arthur). My only complaint here, and it is a substantial one, is that I wish the Dore reproductions were of a higher quality with more distinction and vividness. I noticed this same issue with the EP DLE Dore's Divine Comedy, so perhaps it was "blurry" in the original source, but for this price, they could have been of a higher quality and clarity since that is the main point of the volume (to me at least). It still leaves one with the distinct impression of a large-volume mass production type book rather than a carefully crafted fine press edition.
Quality Control: A
>15 UK_History_Fan: Thank you for the very informative review. I'm still up in the air with regards to this DLE.
Also, please bear in mind those grades are relative to the other DLEs and not to a standard hardback book. Obviously the DLEs would always rate an A or Excellent when compared to those. So my conclusion is that it is above average for a DLE but NOT in the best of the best category.
Got mine delivered today. Beautiful book. No quality issues. Will post a bunch of pictures soon on B&V.
As usual, your contributions and sharing pics are much appreciated. Thanks for saving me the trouble!
>19 UK_History_Fan:, maybe I can borrow your comments which, as usual, are spot on!
Great to hear there are no quality issues. Hopefully those issues will all be past history now.
> 20 Beg, borrow, or steal, no matter to me so long as you continue posting book pictures especially of editions I'll never find at a price I can afford!
After much deliberation, I decided to pass on this DLE and go with the full size 1978 facsimile by the Arno Press which can be had for under $50. The downsides are no leather cover and no slipcover. On the plus side the engravings are really well reproduced and the cost can't be beaten.
And where did you find this gem? It wouldn't surprise me if the illustrations are superior in reproduction quality to the DLE.
23,24: I am curious as to what the Arno Press edition is like. I don't think it's fair to say that it will be superior to the EP DLE, because it may very well be inferior. However, I would love to see a comparison of the two so we can decide. I will agree that the price is insanely good. Typically you get what you pay for, but then again sometimes gems go under the radar. So, please post pics when you get it!
24, 25> I looked at the usual online places and ended up purchasing off of Abe. I also debated at picking up an original 1872 edition which I found for as low as $600 (3/4 leather with marbled boards). I don't have the EP DLE to do a direct comparison but I do own copies of the EP Crusades DLE, the EP Rime of the Ancient Mariner, EP Idylls of the King and the unfortunate EP/Chartwell Poe.
The Arno Press paper is very nice, fairly thick and off white but probably not acid free. The binding is a very plain dark blue cloth with only DORE'S LONDON writen down the spine. There is a dust jacket. The reproductions of the illustrations are at least on a par with those in the Crusades and superior to the other EP editions I own. The book is too large for my scanner and I'm not to good at photographing pages.
Okay, I am finally posting pictures since it looks like we have all been too busy since getting this book.
I agree with UK History's review. This is a great book, and also very big. Not as big as Metamorphosis, but larger than Crusades. I do wish they had varied the end paper colors a bit, as it appears a little drab and dull. Quality overall was very good and I couldn't find any exterior issues. My only exterior gripe is that this book has the same issue that many EP editions have; the cover gilt work always appears a bit heavy handed and some of the cover detail gets lost. Illustrations were great. This also has tissue separators between the full page illustrations, and there are also many partial page illustrations throughout the book, so you rarely have a page with just text. However, in the interior, I can clearly see some slight dimpling in the first several pages, and it appears as though someone has lightly creased several pages prior to packaging. Since I know I am the only one who has touched this book when it emerged from the shrink wrap this must have happened at the factory. Not sure if that is a big enough issue for me to return it. Overall I am pleased to add this book to my library and feel it is a relative decent price, maybe it could have been $50 to $100 less expensive.
Here are the pictures, lighting probably could have been better.
(edited since I always mess up the links on the first try)
Looks nice, those creased pages sure are unattractive though. I'm glad they went back to the beveled board edges, love those.
Thanks for stepping in and posting the pictures since I have been both too busy and too lazy to do it myself. I did almost get the camera out today but it was too overcast to get good pictures in natural light.
I probably would request a replacement based on the dimpling and page creasing that you have shown. This is very similar (though not quite as severe) as the issue I had with Prince & Pauper, and the good folks on here convinced me I was not being unreasonable in asking for a replacement. Also, keep in mind this is a far more expensive book than P&P.
I am curious as to what you thought of the illustration printing clarity/quality. I can't help feeling that the images appear a bit "smudgy" and not as crisp as I might like or expect in a DLE.
Somewhat off topic, but I can't help but admire the table in that first picture. I am a huge fan of polished wood furniture and that tabletop is simple gorgeous!
That is a beautiful book. I particularly love the title page. Thank you for posting.
I don't think I would be bothered about the slightly wrinkled pages, but each to their own.
I knew nothing of this book 45 minutes ago. I am ordering it today. Glad I came across this site!
Just added a review of this on Books and Vines.
Well busywine, you've done it again with a very informative review and I think the most pictures ever of a single volume (but you'd have to confirm that!). I am sure EP should refund your money as you will undoubtedly drive sales of this title.
Keep up the great work!
>29 UK_History_Fan:, UK, I didn't initially think that the illustrations were smudgy. There are a couple that may be a little dark, but not an issue for me. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with the dimpling and the crease. I notice that Busywine's copy also has similar issues, and his edition is much later in the series (not that I know that they are numbered sequentially). So I will look again this weekend and decide if I want to return for a replacement.
Thank you for the compliments on the table. Yes, I tend to like fine wood furniture and antiques. This is one of two Maitland Smith pieces that I have purchased, and the wood work is exceptionally nice. The first picture shows more of the marquetry, the other photos the wood appears darker than it really is due to lack of sunlight and resulting contrast due to the flash. That is the table that my kids aren't allowed to play on. :)
>33 busywine:, Busywine, thank you for the review and the superior photos. One of these days I'll learn to proficiently use my camera. I'm not a natural photographer.
As I said before, I note that you also have a bit of dimpling in your copy, as well as a finger crease in one page. It appears though that this is not bad enough for you to return.
Has anyone else noted dimpling with their copy?
>34 UK_History_Fan:, 35 Thanks! As for the dimpling, I think some of that is just the thickness of the paper that has not been made pliable yet from much use! (If I am looking at what I think you mean). In any case, it does not bother me. The finger crease is probably my own fault, as I am not real gentle of my books, and again, this thick paper tends to not initially be that forgiving :-) Usually, actually goes away. I am afraid to see your response, as maybe I will learn something that will make me want to send half my books back! :-) BTW, have to agree, that table sure looks nice!
My initial copy had a warped text block (similar to that shown above, but perhaps more severe). My replacement copy (which I've already received) has the same issue, but it is less severe -- so much so that it may indeed (as busywine suggests in >36 busywine:) disappear over time as the paper becomes more pliable. I can't imagine this type of self-improvement happening with my original (returned) copy of the book, however...
So (short answer): this appears to be a problem that (to greater and lesser extents) is endemic to this printing.
Actually I am afraid it might be endemic to BindTech as I had the exact same problem on my Prince and Pauper. While not completely absent from my replacement copy, the wrinkling was far less pronounced and I was able to live with it. Surprisingly, I don't seem to have any issues with my copy of Dore, but then I have only had it open twice so far. So perhaps a closer inspection is in order.
>36 busywine:-38, the dimpling that I have noted on my copy is just in the first few pages. The further I get into the book the pages smooth out and I don't see any issues. It would be nice to know who the binder is for each DLE. BeindTech has not had good review in recent posts. Did EP just recently start using BindTech, or have they been using them for years. Anyone know? I know I don't have this issue with my other large DLEs: Crusades, Metamorphosis, Kemscott, KJV, these are all fine.
>40 DanMat:, my book is not due to humidity. I am in north Texas, and although we can get humidity here, it is usually a passing occurrence. Plus, I keep a dehumidifier in my Library just to further limit humidity variation (yes, I am a bit anal with my books). This appears to be a binding issue. This looks like binding stress due to slight angular variation in the stitching. That is my best assessment. Again, this is not extreme, and I'm not sure that I will return it yet. I just noted it as a slight issue.
I was thinking the paper absorbs moisture from humiity when it's at the binder, then dries out during shipment....
I believe DanMat was referring to BindTech being in Tennessee. Since the shipment of this book was delayed because the first batch of leather covers were not up to snuff, its possible that the text blocks warped slightly while they were in storage waiting to be bound. Pure speculation, of course, but what else can we do? It will be interesting to see if the slight warp in my copy corrects itself over time. (I live in Southern California, where it's rarely humid -- even when it's raining!!)
Again, you have to assess your own comfort level, but at the price, I would want as close to perfection as possible. Don't be reluctant to get a replacement for fear you will seem too "anal" about your books. I imagine that applies to a great number of fellow devotees!
...and I must confirm that, quirks aside, this is a very nice edition.
Thanks, I missed the original point. Yeah, I need to look again this weekend and determine if I will return. Silent, if your second copy was better maybe I will do that.
Better, yes; perfect, no.
At this point I am, however, quite satisfied.
There are a couple of copies on ebay for a "mere" $875! Why pay full price when you can pay 1.75 times the price? Hmmm...
well anyway, I am certain this edition will sell out soon, so my advice for anyone on the border is to decide soon.
I noticed that too. I'm pretty sure they're hoping to take advantage of people who might not know it's available on the website for much less.
I bought this volume from EP about 3 months ago. I have other EP books and this one is terrific. Every time I take it out of its slipcover I can't help but take a whiff of the cover. Beautiful leather smell. The images in my copy seem extremely sharp and I really enjoy the text. Long a Dickens fan, I move back and forth between my latest C. D. read and this book to make the entire London thing a bit more vivid.
The day after I ordered the book, I kicked myself and asked how I could be so stupid as to order that expensive of a book (yes, I was a bit buzzed at the time I ordered). As soon as it arrived I felt vindicated, and this book has now become something I treasure and for which I wait special times to read.
It is not only an excellent work by a captivating author and excellent artist, but a beautiful example of the bookbinder's art.
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