Limited Editions Club: The Three-Cornered Hat by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1959)

October 2, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club: The Three-Cornered Hat by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1959)

The Three-Cornered Hat by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón(1959)
LEC # 298, 27th Series, V. 7
Artwork: Drawings by Roger Duvoisin
Translated by Martin Armstrong, Introduced by Gerald Brenan
#403 out of 1500

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – This is one of my favorite bindings of all my LEC’s.  It’s colorful, a fantastic design and feels soft to the touch.  I wish I could tell you what it was made of, but I didn’t get a letter, so I’m unsure of how it was made or who did the design work.  Also, it never saw a Heritage reprint from what I can tell.

What I can tell you about is the small but stunning contributions of Swiss illustrator Roger Duvoisin, who is best known in the Macy sphere for his Heritage Mother Goose commission in 1936, his first and most famous.  Following this he rendered two Robert Louis Stevenson works, A Child’s Garden of Verses in 1944 and Travels with a Donkey in 1957, and then did this, The Three-Cornered Hat, in 1959.  He won the Caldecott Medal for his art for Alvin Tresselt’s White Snow, Bright Snow in 1948 and a honor Caldecott for Hide and Seek Fog in 1966, so children’s books seemed to be a good fit for him. 

The Three-Cornered Hat, by Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, is probably one of the more adult-oriented tales Duvoisin rendered art for, as its plot follows a lustful magistrate who attempts to woo over a miller’s loyal wife.  It went on to become a popular ballet composed by Manuel de Falla, and would be filmed several times by Spanish filmmakers.  Alarcón became famous for this, but he did other novellas, travel writings and essays.  This would be his sole LEC contribution, however.


Slipcase – A very bold orange, that this is.

Title Page – The Plantin Press handled printing duties under the eyes of Saul and Lillian Marks, who did a few LEC jobs for the George Macy Company.  Apparently this was printed at the Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles, which is sort of appropriate given its Spanish heritage.  Martin Armstrong brought Alarcón’s words into English, and Gerald Brenan gave the work a proper intro.

Signature Page – Duvoisin signed his final work for the LEC, and this is #403 of 1500 copies.

Page 5 – Duvoisin’s work comes in two forms – linework with no color and what appears to be watercolored drawings.  Here’s an example of the lines…

Page 13 – And one of the colored.  Duvoisin also did full page drawings, as you’ll see below.

Page 17 – I think his whimsical style works well with Alarcón’s tale.

Personal Notes – I was dumbstruck at the soft, beautiful binding and vibrant color of the slipcase (I happen to like orange), and I also enjoyed the interior quite a bit.  I needed some Spanish flair to my collection, and Alarcón’s work fit the bill.  I paid $40 for it in Monterey.

If you have a LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!


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