Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)
August 26, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)
The Ambassadors by Henry James (1963)
Sandglass Number I:29
Artwork: Illustrations by Leslie Saalburg
Introduced by James
Reprint of LEC #351, 32nd Series, V. 1 in 1963
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Henry James quickly returns for his second appearance on the blog! Don’t say that I don’t listen to the Devotees! ;)
Anyway, The Ambassadors was the second of his works published by the Limited Editions Club; my prior post on The Portrait of a Lady features his complete Macy bibliography. It’s considered the most autobiographical of his works, and the Sandglass emotes heavily on James’ career for those curious about the American-turned-British author. This is one of those books where the author composed its introduction, as well.
Our artist for The Ambassadors is another of those one-shot illustrators: Leslie Saalburg only contributed this one commission before fading from the George Macy Company and its descendents. His watercolor paintings work well with James, although, much like Colleen Browning of the aforementioned Portrait, the art is not jaw-dropping for me. Perhaps you will disagree!
Design Notes: Richard Ellis designed this book, and he is no newcomer to the Macy canon; the Sandglass notes he did Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Trollope’s Barchester Towers, and a quick review of my blog reveals that he also did Defoe’s Journal of a Plague Year, Untermeyer’s Paul Bunyan, Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, and Trollope’s The Warden. Well, here’s another! Fairfield in a 12-point size is our font, designed by Macy alum Rudolf Ruzicka. Perpetua, another font designed by another Macy artist, Eric Gill, is used for the title page and initial letters. Ellis himself used calligraphic fleurons and cartouches for chapter and part headers. The Garamond Press tackled the text printing, which was the very shop that issued the first LEC way back in 1929, Gulliver’s Travels! Cream-toned paper from Crocker-Burbank took on these fonts and Saalburg’s illustrations, and Russell-Rutter as usual handled the binding job.
TItle Page – James himself gives the introduction, borrowed from a Collected Edition issued in 1909. James also cameos in Saalburg’s artwork: four or five of the watercolors feature the author’s visage! I don’t know if the three selections I’ve chosen showcase this, but Page 49’s illustration does indeed include him; he’s the seated chap on the far right. James is literally everywhere here!
Examples of the Illustrations by Saalberg (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – This was acquired at Bookhaven for $10. It was my first acquisition of James, of which I now have three. I haven’t read him yet, but I’ve got plenty to pick from whenever I do!
Updated 12/23/2013 by JF
Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):