The Latest Find
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In an effort to give some more life to this particular forum I thought I’d steal an idea from FSD and the George Macy Devotees forums. Namely what is your latest find, your latest acquisition? Give us some background on it who, what, when , where and why. That sort of thing.
My latest is from just last night. I’ve been interested in the pre-Arion era of that particular press so purchased my first example of work from the Grabhorn Press. The Red Badge of Courage. From the pictures it seems in excellent condition and I think will serve as a really great intro to the Grabhorns and their work. Pictures to follow when I have it in hand!
I think you will like the Grabhorn edition of Red Badge of Courage. It is nicely done. Note that the Grabhorn Press evolved into the Grabhorn-Hoyem Press, which then morphed into the Arion Press.
I've been trying to read more outside the usual literature canon taught in the U.S. and outside the mainstream publishing output as well. In other words, women writers, people of color, and from countries and languages on the edges of the 3% of world literature usually translated and published in the U.S.A.
So I was very excited to find Ourika by the Bird & Bull Press. It's a novella that hits many of the areas I am exploring in for my reading. Areas especially hard to find in fine and private press publications, which relies heavily on the White Male Western Canon of classics. It's beautiful and will be up soon on The Whole Book Experience.
>3 jveezer: That's another fine production by Henry Morris and W. Thomas Taylor, they combined on the first Bird and Bull bibliography. I had forgotten about Ourika, having looked a few times previously and finding only sun-faded spines. Look forward to your review.
Good idea about your reading efforts, no shine.
>1 Sorion: Oops, forgot to say great idea for a thread, unfortunately my last purchase was a mildewed disaster and the less said the better!
>3 jveezer: From just reading an overview of the book it sounds very interesting. Your review should be enlightening.
>4 olepuppy: I'm still smarting from a copy of the LEC Salombo that had to be taken out of my house the mildew smell was so bad. Nothing worse! That begs a question though, what do you do with the copies of those books that come in that condition? I just threw the Salombo out. It was beyond fixing and I missed the return date.
My most recent purchase was The Scarlet Letter, also printed by the Grabhorn press for Random House, and also illustrated by Valenti Angelo. My copy’s spine is a bit faded, but it’s otherwise in excellent condition, with unopened pages.
I think the Red Badge of Courage has lusher paper, but The Scarlet letter has even nicer printing.
>6 kermaier: That looks lovely. If you would post some pictures of the woodcuts that would be really appreciated. I’d love to get a look at them!
>5 Sorion: Regardless I would have tried to return it. There is really no excuse for not mentioning this. On the other hand since it is not very expensive forgetting about it might be your best option.
I picked up a copy of The Big Sleep from Arion in near fine condition at a nice price. Like many, I have some issues with some of the photographs, but overall it’s a a well-designed edition and I’m happy with it.
Prior to that, I had picked up a copy of The Mask of Red Death from Aquarius Press that was represented to be in fine condition. It was not even remotely close to being in fine condition. I returned it.
>5 Sorion: In this instance I contacted the seller, who apologized, authorized the refund, and thankfully said dispose of the books as I saw fit, which is my favorite response in this situation.
Herakles and the Eurystheusian Twelve-Step Program from the Foolscap Press. Absolutely hilarious story and an interesting fold out design as well. This press shows so much more creativity in its work than Arion.
If the only problem was the smell, you could have tried baking soda. It really works miracles absorbing smells. One way to do it is to spread a bunch of soda on the bottom of a plastic container, place the book above it on some raised supports, seal the container and let it sit for a couple of weeks.
>12 elladan0891: I’ve just come to the conclusion that it bothers me on a psychological level in addition to how much it bothers me on a physical level. I can’t deal with the smell. Or knowing that the smell was there. Oh well!
>11 kdweber: Even I found it very hilarious. Larry is one funny writer!.
>3 jveezer: Oooh, I had no idea there was a fine press version of Ourika available. I'll be keeping an eye out.
So over the weekend I purchased a copy of the first Arion publication Hoyem's picture poems. I purchased this not necessarily for love of the material but because I wanted to get my hands on the first proper Arion publication. I'm looking forward to a comparison of the first publication with their most recent publications.
I have had four recent beautiful book finds that I consider fine press because of their presentation, pictures, limitation and bindings, but none are letterpress.
Because they all have an Australian province, they are books that most of you will not know of, but hopefully will still be of interest.
The Bligh Notebook.
Birds of NSW.
A German Romantic in the Antipodes.
Birds of the Australian Swamps.
I picked up my last purchase for a number of months over the last week. Foolscap Phisicke against Fortune. I'm so impressed with them. For a reasonable price, private press wise, they really delivered with this publication. Just beautiful. Having not acquired a Foolscap production before my interest was peaked after the Mandeville was linked on this forum and others. Having it in my hands I'm really excited to see what they do with a more expensive publication such as that.
Congratulations. Phisicke is a true gem. Did you get the quarter-cloth or quarter-leather edition?
>20 ultrarightist: I bought the quarter-cloth edition and am over the moon about it. The only thing lacking is a slipcase but I might have one made for it.
>21 Sorion: I have the quarter-cloth edition as well, and love it. I agree with you that a slipcase would have been nice. I believe one comes with the quarter-leather edition.
I picked up the Batrachian edition of The Shadow Over Innsmouth from Heavenly Monkey. I already have a copy of the Ichthyic edition, and was able to pick up this version at a reasonable price.
>23 opto4: Wow congratulations. That is some seriously lovely work. Pictures of both editions would not go amiss!
I have the Batrachian as well -- I wish I could have parted with the silver necessary to obtain the Ichthyic state!
Edit: Though I console myself that mine is one of the copies initialed by the illustrator on the frontispiece. :-)
Yes, the quarter-leather-over-cloth state of Phisicke comes with a slipcase covered like the quarter-cloth-over-paper book.
There were only 40 copies of the quarter leather, so they don't appear on the secondary market very often.
I just got back from a business trip. I’ll try to get some pics up this weekend.
I have some photos of the heavenly monkey books ready to post. I haven’t posted photos to librarything groups before. Any recommendations on which hosting works best for embedding photos to groups?
Finally got some time to get the pics together of the different editions I have of the Heavenly Monkey editions of Shadow Over Innsmouth. Let’s see if this works:
I've been looking for Shadow Over Innsmouth by HMP. I noticed there are different versions, which makes it strange, considering it's such a small press to begin with!!
Foolscap Press and Heavenly Monkey are two presses I would love to have a little something of in my library. If I would have noticed it at the time, I would not have been able to resist the Foolscap Direction of the Road. That's one that got away for me but what can you do when you don't even know that something exists before it is out of print?
It's always interesting to get surprised by a title out there in the private press world that you didn't know about. The Bird & Bull Ourika was a recent example. And now I've found a copy of Bartleby the Scrivener by the Indulgence Press that I'm super excited about. Can't wait until that one shows up on my door! "I prefer not to" has become something of a motto with me lately given the direction my country has gone in lately.
Having spent most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area, I've naturally been attracted to Stevenson's The Silverado Squatters. After a long life on my wish list, I finally found a Fine copy of the Arion Press edition for a not too excessive price. It's definitely one of my nicer APs with beautiful and appropriate duo-tones by Michael Kenna. Interestingly, this is second book in my library with cork boards (with the Yolla Bolly Press Theseus the first).
>36 kdweber: That looks a great find. I love the look of the exterior. Looks really interesting.
EDIT: Look at how many time I worked Look into three brief sentences!
I just got a hold of a 40-volume edition of Balzac's Works in the 1909 Hanska edition limited to 1000 copies. While that is more Balzac than most people would ever want, there is a back story here: 18 years ago, during a tempestuous divorce, my ex "dissappeared" a set of Balzac that was given to me by my beloved mother-in-law. While this set isn't quite as nice as I remember that one being (no specifics as it was pre-LibraryThing for me...), I was happy to replace it for emotional and nostalgic reasons. One of my favorite San Diego bookstores closed (or went online?) and I got the $300 set for $30. RIP Adam's Avenue books but thanks for making it possible to replace some books and remove one more pin from that voodoo doll...
I noticed an interesting "fine press(?)" feature of this set that I have never run across before. Each volume has an extra spine label inserted between the last pages of the book. These are unslipcased, so maybe they are intended for people who might have slipcases made? Or maybe for people that rebind the set? Anyone ever seen that before?
>39 jveezer: 40 volumes of Balzac wow. That is..fantastic! Depending on the quality of the work and if as you question they’re made to accommodate it, getting them all slowly rebound in leather would be a nice lifetime project. That’s really great congratulations on the find!
>39 jveezer: Yes, I have. I believe it is the multi-volume Froissart Chronicles of the Crusades by Shakespeare Head Press. I may have a Medici / Riccardi volume that included an extra spine label as well.
>42 EclecticIndulgence: Very nice! That elephant on the spine has to look so fetching on the shelf.
>42 EclecticIndulgence: Congrats on the purchase. I just googled the set and it looks stunning!. Did you find the copy on ebay?
Congratulations on the Balzac set!
I have a similar one to yours - also in 40 volumes (limited to 25 copies, and it is in half-leather), and I really enjoy it!
I took advantage of one of eBay's recent one day discounts and bought a copy of The Brothers, a second century Roman comedy by Terence, from the Allen Press. I love the 27 Durer woodcuts from 1493 that Allens were allowed to copy, the handmade, all rag paper and the paper boards from Italy with German cloth spine. Unfortunately, the 1698 translation is rather archaic and the Menhart Unciala type (the first time this type had been used in a book produced in America) is difficult to decipher making it tough to read the play. Still, another delightful Allen Press production.
A recent purchase in August that may not be well known to the LT Fine Press Forum is:
The Essayes or Counsels Civill and Morall of Francis Lord Verulam Viscount St. Alban - better known as Essays of Francis Bacon - printed by the Shakespeare Head Press for the Cresset Press in 1928.
The Shakespeare Head Press under the direction of Bernard Newdigate may well have done the finest letterpress printing in the United Kingdom between the wars. This book is one of the finest examples of pure printing and typography in the twentieth century and it was printed on Batchelor's Kelmscott hand-made paper with wood-engraved titles & initial letter specially designed for this edition, printed in a contrasting vermilion red. It has a full velllum binding done by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (standard edition) with gilt lettering and it is folio sized measuring 39 x 27 cm (15 1/2 x 10 3/4 inches).
This is not a difficult book to find in the secondary market but it is a VERY difficult book to find in collectible (near fine or fine) condition. After several years of searching I found just such a copy from Louella Kerr Books of Australia at an exceptional price. Worth waiting for.
The binding is full vellum over thick, stiff boards. This book was published in one standard edition (aside from the eight copies printed on vellum pages) and all of the bindings were done by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
>49 dlphcoracl: Nice production values and I love the Shakespeare Head Press but what do you think of the text?
The text is clearly an acquired taste, much as reading Chaucer in Middle English is. Admittedly, reading Bacon's Essays in Ye Olde Englishe is a bit laborious but it is sufficiently poetical that I do not mind in this instance. In a perverse way, it slows down my reading of the Essays so that I am forced to concentrate on them a bit more than I otherwise would in a reading of the text in modern English.
>49 dlphcoracl: Glorious. The Cresset Press did some very nice work. Do you have their Pilgrim's Progress? I think that's the one I'm most looking out for.
I bought one of these a few years ago. The Batchelor's handmade paper in this edition is gloriously thick and heavy. The only thing I don't like about the design are the blocked lines around the text. Apparently, this is an old standard of page design. I think the great Bruce Rogers designed an edition of Dante or something else with a similar format.
Can someone with more knowledge explain the idea behind including lines around the text?
Another recent addition to my book collection earlier this month is an edition of Charles Dickens' classic 'A Tale of Two Cities' with marvelous illustrations. It is a splendid example of how one can add beautiful and interesting books to one's fine & private press book collection without spending considerable amounts of money. However, it does require a bit of imagination and persistence in discovering these little gems.
For serious Dickens book collectors, nothing less than a genuine first edition first issue with illustrations (etchings) by H.K. Browne 'Phiz' published by Chapman and Hall in 1859 will do. It will routinely cost thousands of dollars to find a copy in collectible condition, occasionally reaching five figures (yikes!!). However, it is still possible to acquire a pleasing copy with wonderful illustrations without going the 1st edition route. Case in point:
I did a routine search on the U.S. eBay site to see what was available and then ordered them by price with highest price listed first. In this manner, I could see the copies that would be of interest to a collector of fine books and scan down the list to find the lowest price for a pleasing copy. Well........ Dame Fortune was smiling on me that day and this marvelous edition had just been listed a few days earlier. It is contemporaneous with the 1859 1st edition printed and issued in Great Britain but it was published Across the Pond in 1859 by T. B. Peterson and Brothers (Philadelphia), the 1st American edition. It is a two-volume set (octavo size) printed letterpress on a high quality thick paper and each volume contains nearly three dozen beautiful etchings by an artist named John McLenan. As you will see, the illustrations are every bit the equal - similar in style and technique - to the more famous original illustrations by 'Phiz'. Best of all, the original cloth bindings were replaced with elegant bindings done in half leather with marbled paper over boards. The spine is hubbed and divided into six compartments with black leather labels and gilt decorations. The marbled paper is duplicated for the end papers and free end plates and the edges of the text block ("fore edges") have been given the same marbled design! The books were clearly well cared for because they are (remarkably) entirely free of the toning and foxing of the pages one would expect in a 159-year old set of books. The cost? Ninety dollars - judge for yourself.
An 1859 edition for $90. Amazing.
I’ve just ordered a copy of the Arion Press ‘The Leopard’ directly from the Press (even though I already have the very nice LEC version).
I have not been a fan of the Arion Press books in the new millennium (2000 to present day) but their edition of 'The Leopard' is a jewel and I, too, purchased this directly from Arion earlier this year. Incidentally, a film version of 'The Leopard' was made in 1963 by the great Italian director Luchino Visconti - a 3-hour film that is one of the most opulent and beautiful films ever made. It has been faithfully and lovingly restored for Blu-Ray by The Criterion Collection and it is one of those rare instances when the film is actually better than the novel (see link). The Blu Ray DVD is a must have.
Hughs-Stanton’s work in The Pilgrim’s Progress is highly reminiscent of his illustrations in the Golden Hours Press edition of Marlowe’s Dr Faustus. Beautiful in both.
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is firmly ensconced as a member of modern private press royalty, i.e., a work of literature that has been published by numerous private presses, almost always to wonderful effect. It is one of those works that lends itself to owning multiple editions and I am guilty of this, ranging from an excellent bilingual (Middle English and modern English) 3-volume set from the Folio Society to the renowned 3-volume set from the Golden Cockerel Press with Eric Gill wood-engravings.
Nevertheless, when I encountered this edition - especially since it was the first time I had found in collectible (near fine) condition - I couldn't pass on it. The edition is:
The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer with a Version in Modern English Verse by William van Wyck, 2 volumes, Covici-Friede publishers, 1930.
It is giant folio sized (15 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches) and the highlight of this edition are 25 full-page wood-engraved illustrations by Rockwell Kent, along with numerous head and tailpiece engravings. Kent needs no introduction to collectors of modern private press books as his illustrations for the three-volume Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick (1930) are one of the high points of illustrated twentieth-century private press works. Much less well known is that in the very same year he carved the illustrations for this classic as well. It is printed double-column with Chaucer's original version in Middle English in the right-hand column and van Wyck's modern translation alongside line-by-line in the left column. It was issued in an edition of 99 copies, 924 on Worthy Number Two rag paper and 75 copies on Crane's Old Book paper.
>76 dlphcoracl: Very nice, indeed. I just acquired a letterpress limited edition of Beowulf illustrated by Rockwell Kent. Masterful illustrator.
>76 dlphcoracl: Very nice! I didn't realize there was a fine press edition with the Rockwell Kent illustrations. It certainly puts my Garden City Books (1934) De Luxe Edition to shame. I'm a sucker for Chaucer with 8 editions of the Canterbury Tales.
>84 ultrarightist: The 1932 Pynson Printers for Random House edition? I really like this edition though I prefer the FS bilingual edition translated by Seamus Heaney. Also a sucker for Beowulf with 6 editions of the book.
>85 kdweber: Yes, correct. I have the FS edition, too, but wanted a letterpress edition of the work.
"I'm a sucker for Chaucer with 8 editions of the Canterbury Tales."
But probably not this one!! It is a near-miniature book (see photo below) which contains:
1. The Prologue and three of the tales from The Canterbury Tales.
2. Troilus and Criseyde
3. The Floure and the Leaf
4. The Cuckoo and the Nightingale.
It is printed letterpress on Japan vellum paper with a frontispiece illustration of Chaucer and small wood-engraved headpieces on the first page of the three Canterbury Tales . The binding is limp vellum with silk ribbon ties. The book is 117 years old and only 60 copies were printed. Nevertheless, if the edition illustrated by Rockwell Kent is too large and heavy to take with you, this edition is perfect when you decide to hit the road, travel somewhere exotic, yet still need your Chaucer fix.
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