Far Away and Long Ago by William Henry (W.H.) Hudson (1943)
LEC #152/14th Series V. 12 in 1943
Artwork: Illustrations with lithographs by Raúl Rosarivo
Introduction by R.B. Cunninghame-Graham
LEC #1236 of 1500. LEC exclusive.
Click images to see larger views.
Front Binding – March brings us a new book from both a new author and illustrator, as well as one of the most distinctive and original bindings in the LEC canon — William Henry (W.H.) Hudson’s Far Away and Long Ago, issued in December 1943 to the membership. You probably noticed that the material for the binding appears to be hair, and you would be correct; Far Away is bound in rough horse hide with the hair remaining for its bottom half, giving each book its own unique look as each horse had its own coloring. My only hope is that the animals died of natural causes prior to being utilized for what could be kindly referred to as a vanity binding. A smoothed rawhide features the title branded in, and it is all stitched together in rawhide thongs. As one might expect, a binding such as this is difficult to come across in relatively unscathed condition nearly 70 years on; my copy is one that has managed that task. However, the interior is a little foxed, but I intend to protect it as best I can during my ownership of it.
Hudson isn’t a stranger to the George Macy Company at this point, as his most famous work, Green Mansions, had already been issued in 1935 by the LEC, and a Heritage exclusive variant was sent out to the Heritage Club in 1936. Devotee BuzzBuzzard shared that “Green Mansions was indeed a Heritage exclusive and in fact the very first book from regular subscription, sandglass 1A. It is copyrighted 1936 by the Heritage Club. A top quality production!” Regarding the LEC, it was Edward A. Wilson’s third commission for the LEC, and he seems a good fit for the book given some of his other illustrations. For the Heritage, Miguel Covarrubias was tasked with its artistry, of which he has performed admirably (I once had it in my collection, and would like to reacquire it for my Exclusives list. I believe it was unceremoniously drenched in an accidental spill).
This release, however, marks the end for Hudson’s career within the Macy canon. Far Away is a biographical memoir of his life growing up in Argentina that was written in 1918; this particular edition is a celebration of Argentina in several ways, as we shall see.
Argentinian poet, illustrator and General Director of the Buenos Aires Provincial Graphic Workshops Raúl Rosarivo served as the illustrator for Far Away, and he does an incredible job with his exceptional lithographs capturing the moments from Hudson’s life. It is his sole contribution to the LEC, but it is very memorable (and given how distinct the binding is, it’s great the interior has such grand merits as well!).
Design Notes – Much like Rosarivo, the book’s designer is also Argentinean: Alberto Kraft, who owned the Guillermo Kraft Limitia S.A. print shop in Buenos Aires. The book was entirely created in his shop, from the printing to the binding, as the Quarto notes:
Alas, I do not have the box it originally came in.
Title Page – R.B. Cunninghame-Graham provides an introduction. Also get a sample of Rosarivo’s exquisite lithographs in action; he certainly was a master at his craft.
Colophon – This is #1236 of 1500, and was signed by both Rosarivo and Kraft.
Examples of Rosarivo’s illustrations (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – This was one of several books sent to me by fellow Devotee NYCFaddict, who recently acquired a completed copy and no longer needed this one. Seeing the condition was pretty immaculate, a bit of a rarity for this book given the unique horse hair binding, I went ahead and snagged it from him. This is one I never thought I’d have, so I’m pleased as punch to have it in my collection!