Who likes illustrations on the cover(s) of finely printed books?
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As I have posted, I have rebound (approximately 20 titles to date) several LECs published in the 30s and 40s. These books were all printed letter press and are illustrated by great illustrator such as Thomas Hart Benton. But I have managed to stay away from rebinding with Illustrations on the cover(s) for all but two books.
I saved the blind embossed civil war soldiers on the cover of The Red Badge of Courage by having the binder cut them out and placing them on the new binding. It worked out well, and now I'm trying to save the scarlet "A" on a field of sable on the cover of the Hawthorne book.
One cover illustration I haven't saved is on both covers of Life on the Mississippi. Why? I know it's a sacrilege to criticize Thomas Hart Benton, but I just don't like many illustrated covers. And this illustration appears inside the book opposite the colophon page.
Other cover illustrations I have eliminated appeared on The Red and the Black and Mutiny on the Bounty.
Some of the cover illustrations on the Folio Society books are very creative such as the bug crawling across the spine on Kafka's Metamorphoses, but overall IMO covers stamped with illustrations seem to cheapen the book.
One thinng I like about the LEC Shiff era books is the simple, but classy covers such as the Dubliners and Diary of a Country Priest.
So Thomas Hart Benton had to go off the covers of Life on the Mississippi, but his art is well preserved on the inside.
What are your opinions about cover art?
I would love to see some pictures. It's quite hard to offer an opinion without seeing the finished product although some can always offer some general opinion about cover art. In general I do like cover art. I've never tried rebinding but it does sound tempting when I think about that in the future if I ever acquire a battered LEC I can always rescue it by rebinding it. I particularly like the rebinding of the KJV Bible that Robert has (Django).
Of course, when rebinding one has to save the illustrations from the old book or do inlays/onlays in leather. Printing an illustrations for one book is not feasible. The more I look at the Shiff era LECs, the better I like their simple, but classy designs.
Even the Folio Society limited editions, IMO, don't come off well with illustrations. I only bought one LE from Folio, and after I bought it I didn't like it. It is the Boccaccio Decameron.
I understand you very well. With the FS it's hit and miss sometimes. I've got the Decameron LE on my to buy list because I am a completist and like the binding style by Jeff Clements. There was also some hefty discussion with the FS Voltaire Candide LE; some loved the illustrations by Blake while others loathed it for that particular book
I personally like cover art--if I like the art and if it's right for the book. Some of my favorite Macy books are the ones with blind-stamped designs on the cover--the Heritage Penguin Island (an all-time favorite book for design), The Aeneid, and Literary Works of Abraham Lincoln, and of course the LEC Ulysses (alas, never to be mine to own).
Take a look at the cover pic I posted for my review of Ultimate Triumph:
the book has an illustrated embossed cover, which I think looks fantastic! However, anymore than that and it gets too Gaudi for my taste.
6> Is that a dust cover lying next to book? The book cover Looks like a stamping, not an embossing, but I can't really tell.
The illustrations are unique, but I'm not into fantasy books.
5> I don't consider most blind embossing to be an illustration. I too like cover art, but don't care for illustrations which are usually stamped or printed on the cover. The reason is that they are usually garish.
I have the LECs for the first three books you mentioned, but don't know about the HP versions. Of course, I don't have, and never will have, the LEC Ulysses.
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