Limited Editions Club – Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)
September 24, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)
Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)
LEC # 329, 30th Series, V. 2
Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by T.M. Cleland
Preface by J. Donald Adams
#403 out of 1500
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – A beautiful white/light brown cloth with a pretty clover pattern decorates Booth Tarkington’s one LEC selection, which is probably his best-regarded novel Monsieur Beaucaire. I’m not exactly sure how this was created. It looks embroidered, but I’m not 100% sure on that. I just put up the letter for this book, and I will peruse it when time allows and flesh this out a bit. While this was Tarkington’s only work published by the George Macy Company, he did contribute an introduction to the LEC Huck Finn, which is documented a few places on the internet, curiously enough.
The illustrator for Beaucaire is no stranger to the George Macy Company, however! T.M. Cleland (Thomas Maitland) was a busy man, beginning his career with Macy in the very first series of the LEC in 1930 with The Decameron, and continued until She Stoops to Conquer, done three years after Beaucaire. In total, Cleland rendered eight LEC’s with his artistic talents, and had a hand in designing others. His other major LEC productions include Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones and History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, The Life and Times of Tristan Shandy, Gentleman by Lawrence Sterne, Montaigne’s Essays, and a lovely edition of William Cosgrave’s The Way of the World. He passed away in 1964, making She Stoops to Conquer among his final works. Cleland has a regal style that well suits this particular book. Out of what I’ve seen of his, I like Beaucaire the most, so I’m happy to have it.
Slipcase – This comes with a two-part case, giving the book a very nice presentation.
Title Page – I think Cleland’s greatest strength was in his title pages. The ones I’ve seen are all just exquisite. He knew how to make such a page pop, that he most certainly did. J. Donald Adams provides an preface to the work. I know A. Colish in Mt. Vernon, New York performed publishing duties, and that Cleland was responsible for the book’s design as well as its art, but that’s the extent of my knowledge.
Signature Page – As is par the course for the majority of my Monterey LEC’s, this is #403. 8 of the 20 LEC’s I have are from this particular number.
Page 21 – I prefer Cleland’s work with backgrounds. She Stoops to Conquer lacks them, and I don’t think Cleland’s style is as effective without some setting behind them. This is quite a lovely rendering.
Personal Notes – $35 netted me this lovely little gem, from my favorite Monterey area shop. I’m very happy with it. My wife helped me pick it out. :)
LEC Monthly Letter:
Updated 10/13/2012 – JF