Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958) LEC #292/27th Series V. 1 in 1958 Artwork: Illustrations by Fritz Kredel
Introduced by Angela Thirkell #403 of 1500.
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Front Binding – Happy 2018 everyone! I am not entirely sure how frequent this blog will see updates without any new books to spotlight beyond this one at present, but I will continue to post new titles that come into my hands as they enter my library — I promise you that!
Our first post in 2018 is not the first for either author nor artist; in fact, we’ve spotlighted them both TOGETHER way back when with the Heritage reprint of The Warden, which predated this book by three years. You can take a look at the Heritage edition I previously reviewed below. Anthony Trollope would only see these two works printed by the Limited Editions Club, with both decorated by Fritz Kredel’s graceful hand. As for Fritz, he hasn’t been spotlighted since 2013’s post on The Decameron, so it’s nice to welcome him back, especially since he was the most utilized of all illustrators by George Macy and his family over the LEC tenure. This is a very representative example of his output; expertly done and apropos of the story within. For his entire LEC/Heritage bibloiography, see here.
Design Notes – Designer Richard Ellis was recruited to continue the tradition he established with The Warden (a theme for this book, as we will see shortly). Ellis is no stranger to the blog at this point; I even reposted a complete LEC/Heritage bibliography just for him from Devotee featherwate! We last saw his work with the Heritage exclusive The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The font chosen was Bell (much like The Warden), which was printed by Clarke & Way on Curtis paper. The letter makes a note about the paper being infused with titanium to minimize showthrough. Frank Fortney of Russell-Rutter binded the project, with a black levant-grain leather with Kredel supplying a decoration stamped in gold leaf alongside the title and publisher. The boards have a patterned paper, and it seems to be radically different batches used midway through as I’ve seen two copies of this LEC and they did not share the same paper! Kredel’s artwork was reproduced via gravures by the Photogravure and Color Company and subsequently colored by Walter Fischer’s studio. Each of the forty drawings had four separate stencils created for each to maximize closeness to Kredel’s originals. These stencils were then carefully used to color each illustration by hand to match up. More can be seen in the Letter below!
Title Page – Angela Thirkell, who also provided a preface for The Warden, steps back in to provide the same treatment for this book. Trollope’s two books essentially had the exact same crew backing them, which is sort of unique for the Club. The big selling point of the LEC upgrade is the upgrade to Kredel’s colors, which the Heritage reprint does not come close in replicating:
As was frequent in Heritage reprints of this era, the color choice was radically simplified.
Colophon – This is copy 403 of 1500 and signed by Kredel. My first LEC from him!
Examples of the Illustrations by Kredel (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Page 4 – Delicate and meticious all at once, Kredel is definitely a master.
Personal Notes – I picked this up for store credit as Old Capitol Books in Monterey when I was down there for Christmas…this is like the 15th LEC of theirs I’ve bought I’m pretty sure. I’ll have to check one of these days…
LEC Newsletter (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (1958)
Sandglass Number unknown
Artwork – Illustrations by Fritz Kredel
Introduced by Angela Thirkell
Reprint of LEC #292/27th Series V. 1 in 1958
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Front Binding – A nicely designed pattern for the boards on this book, with a brown spine. Shame it’s been sunned somehow, but it is a library book, after all.
Page 18 – Lovely, lovely work. The woman’s face to the right of the carriage is amazing; I’ll need to check and see how it looks in the LEC.
Personal Notes – Back when I was reviewing library books, I picked this up to document from the Mariposa library. It’s seen its fair share of readers, I can say that much.
Selections from The Koran (1958) LEC #284/26th Series V. 5 in 1958 Artwork: Decorations by Valenti Angelo Translated from the Arabic and Introduced by Arthur Jeffrey #660 of 1500.
Curator’s Note – The Koran (Quran) is the most sacred text of the Islamic faith, and some Muslims believe it is not acceptable to reproduce the book via photograph. As an anthropologist, I personally adhere to the discipline’s tenets of being respectful and understanding to other cultural groups and their religious/societal beliefs. With that in mind, I will be putting all of this post’s images behind a jump in a special gallery. For the Table of Contents, the slipcase’s spine will be shown. That way it is a choice to view these images, and will hopefully be a fair compromise for all parties. For those who clicked onto this post via a link or the Table of Contents who may follow that belief, please be aware that photographs will be included at the bottom of the post and will be marked beforehand. I appreciate your understanding on this matter.
With the preamble above duly noted, let’s discuss what I can about this book from the Limited Editions Club’s perspective. Unfortunately, I do not have access to the Monthly Letter for this, but what I can gleam from the book itself is the following. This is not the entire Koran, but selections of the sacred text as selected by its translator Arthur Jeffrey. Valenti Angelo was called upon to provide decorations, and includes his trademark hand illuminations on several pages as well (as last seen here in the Heritage Salome where you will also find his LEC/Heritage bibliography). It’s been a while since we’ve seen Angelo on the blog (2011’s discussion on Shakespeare’s Sonnets for the Heritage Press), but this is an excellent example of his exquisite eye for this style of illustration. I presume he was the guiding hand for the design given how prevalent his decorations are to the overall aesthetic of the text, but I may be wrong. What little else I can gleam from the book is that A. Colish was the publishing house. As soon as I get access to additional information I’ll update the post. The Heritage Press did reprint this, which is a rather nice edition for the Club considering the year (many Heritage reprints starting around this point are lacking in their reproduction values — stripping out colors and such from the text and illustrations — but this is an exception).
Personal Notes – This is the final LEC sent to me by my very kind contact Liz, who also sent along Tono-Bungay and Herodotus’ Histories. Once again, I am incredibly appreciative for her generosity. It’s a book I didn’t expect to be in my collection any time soon, and yet here we are.
The Histories of Herodotus (1958) LEC #293/27th Series V. 2 in 1958 Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by Edward Bawden Introduced and translated from the Greek by Harry Carter #660 of 1500. Heritage edition detailed below.
Before I begin this post proper, I need to take a moment and dedicate this post to longtime Devotee and frequent visitor to this site Don Floyd, who has seemingly passed away within the past six months since I or any of the other Devotee have heard from him. Another reason we believe he has passed on is that his collection — a nearly complete set of LECs, several of which he personally had rebound — has ended up on eBay. It’s truly tragic to see Don’s pride and joy not go to its intended home following his passing; he had plans to donate his collection to his alma mater.
That all being said, I will miss Don’s candor. He definitely had a strong opinion against Heritage Press books, and he was particularly ornery about certain topics, but he was a wonderful man to talk to and learn from. He provided information for me to utilize here on the blog more than once, and I can think of few individuals who were as devoted or passionate about George Macy and his publications as he was. Don Floyd will also be missed here as he was arguably my most frequent commenter. So rest in peace, Don; you will not be forgotten.
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Front Binding – After five long years, I can finally revisit and update you on the differences between the LEC and Heritage editions of The Histories of Herodotus, a title I have sought since I originally stumbled upon the Heritage books that originally comprised this post! And the circumstances of my coming upon this book is quite a story as well; perhaps not as notable or important as the histories contained within, but I hope intriguing! I’ll discuss that in the Personal Notes below.
Onto the book proper. The Limited Editions Club printed these very early classics in the history genre in 1958. Given George’s death in 1956, it’s probable he had some hand in the formation of this book more than his wife Helen, who carried the Club through the next decade. Herodotus is considered “the father of history” (a term given to him by Cicero), pioneering a new approach to writing historical works through the use of historiography, utilizing ethnographic and geographical information to serve as his support. Not everything he writes about in this book is infallible; Herodotus stated that he took what he got from his sources as credible, and there are a few spots where the text is shaky. However, taken as a whole Herodotus’ volumes are fairly accurate to the actual events known of the Greco-Persain Wars. This is the sole work of his that made it to modern times, and is thus the sole production from the LEC or the Heritage Press.
Edward Bawden makes a bold imprint on the LEC legacy with this book. His artistic flourishes for the title page and chapter openers are colorful, crisp dioramas twisting different motifs and symbols into delightful setpieces. He also supplied several line drawings that are sprinkled in the text. My frequent source Django6924 had this to say about Bawden when this was originally posted:
Bawden, born in 1903, and who was a famous English War Artist in WW II and did a tour in Abyssinia, did 102 pen and ink drawings to illustrate the text, and ten double-page color spreads to introduce each of the 9 books (plus one for the title page). …these are very exotic, combining elements of Attic and Persian art in a tapestry-like effect.
Bawden would also contribute to 1960’s Salammbo LEC, written by Gustave Flaubert.
Design Notes – Herodotus’ ancient Greek was translated by Harry Carter, who also served as one of the designers of the book. He also, according to Django6924:
In addition to his translating and editing tasks, Harry Carter compiled helpful marginal glosses which are on nearly every page of text, as compiling an Index which is a marvel of utility and fun: consider such Index items as “Arrows, messages shot with,” and “Beans, abhorred by the Egyptians.”
LEC legend Jan van Krimpen (who was the original lead designer until his death) and Bawden also had a hand in the design. Django6924 supplied these additional details:
The book’s designer was Jan van Krimpen of Joh. Enschedé en Zonen fame, whose printing company in the Netherlands did many great LEC and Heritage books, as well as many other fine books and postage stamps. He needed help from both the illustrator Edward Bawden and also the translator, Harry Carter, as he died in October, 1958 while working on the project. The text used is his Monotype Spectrum, the last face Krimpen ever designed.
van Krimpen may have died in this midst of his involvement with this book, but his legacy in the annals of the LEC and Heritage Press will not be forgotten, as this book will serve as a testimony of.
The paper was Wolvercoat paper from Oxford, England, printed up by van Krimpen’s printing house Joh. Enschedé en Zonen of Haarlem, Holland. J. Brandt and Zoon of Amsterdam served as the binding house for the LEC. Here is the announcement letter courtesy of kdweber:
Title Page – Bawden’s decorations are exquisite! Worth the price of admission for sure. Carter also provides an introduction to the text.
Colophon – 1500 copies were produced. This is #660, and Bawden provides his signature.
Book I Opener – I’m making an exception to my usual “gallery” template for this post to showcase these amazing works of Bawden’s.
Book II Opener
Page 5 – An example of the linework and text. You can see one of Carter’s annotations in the bottom right.
Personal Notes – So, five years after posting this, I finally got my hands on the LEC edition of this marvelous book. As I mentioned above, it’s an interesting story. I arrived to work Monday morning to find a message on my phone. It was from someone I had never met before (we’ll call her Liz) inquiring if I was the person who ran this very blog, and that she was seeking a good home for some LEC titles she couldn’t take with her when she moved. That was a bit of a shock! I reached out at my break and by the end of the call, I was going to receive 10 books from her to document and keep in my collection. A week or so later (after some frightening “tourism” the USPS decided to give my package, having it wander off to Cincinnati for an extended detour), the books arrived safe and sound. So I’m tickled to finally have this book (and the others!), and a big thank you to Liz for her generosity in sending them to me.
LEC Monthly Letter
The Histories of Herodotus (1958, 2 volumes) Sandglass Number II & III: 24 Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by Edward Bawden Introduced and translated from the Greek by Harry Carter Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #293/27th Series V. 2 in 1958
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Front Bindings – As you can see, the Heritage edition splits the sole LEC into two nice looking volumes with a fairly striking design on the boards. This is duplicated on the back as well. Here’s Django6924’s thoughts between the LEC and HP editions, as well as some insights into the creation of this set:
I have both the LEC edition and the Heritage Press edition, and this is one case where the Heritage is the clear winner. Why?
First of all, the LEC is a single chunky volume while the Heritage books are much more reader-friendly. The printing is identical–if you compare two pages side-by-side, they are indistinguishable, same size and same pagination. Secondly, as WildcatJF points out, the binding design is striking to say the least! I love the vertical title arrangement on the spines–a technique that is seldom used but which I prefer to the more usually found arrangement where you have to cock your head to the left or right to read the title. The LEC binding is subdued, a burgundy buckram (that has faded on my otherwise pristine copy two shades paler), with a small white title label and a white medallion on the front cover. Very high quality and elegant (I particularly like the beveled edges), but I really prefer the wilder Heritage design.
The Heritage Sandglass number (2 actually) are II & III: 24–the books were sent out in separate months, but only one Sandglass.
They were printed separately and tipped in to the text, which was printed by Kellogg & Bulkeley of Hartford, CT, on paper specially made for this edition the the Crocker, Burbank Paper Company of Fitchburg, MA.
The binding was done, as it usually was in this period, by Frank Fortney and his Russell-Rutter Company.
I like the simple class act of the LEC design a lot, but there’s a unity and flair to the Heritage volumes I think I prefer slightly more. The interiors are pretty similar in terms of quality, too. I’m sure higher production value was put into the papers, inks and materials, but the Heritage reprint does a pretty remarkable job holding up to the LEC. I’m not going to part with my LEC, but I can understand why someone would take the plunge on the Heritage over it!
Spines – I particularly like the spine design here, as Django6924 notes.
Title Page – Pretty similar to the LEC, with only the printing press swapped out. Sorry about the library card blocking the view, but it’s now at least visible in the LEC image above.
Book I Decoration – As you can see, the Heritage does an admirable (if not extraordinary) job replicating the images of the LEC. This was not a rush job, for sure.
Book II Decoration
Personal Notes – Checked out from my Mariposa Library, and one I believe I saw in stores only once (and I had LEC options for other books, so I went that direction instead). Now that I hold the LEC in my collection, I won’t be on the hunt for this set any longer.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (1943) Sandglass Number 7 GRS Artwork: Drawings by Fritz Eichenberg and Paintings by Vassily Verestchagin Introduced, Translated and with Notes by Louise and Alymer Maude Heritage Press Exclusive; the LEC printed their own edition of War and Peace in 1938. This edition borrows the revised translation done by the Maudes.
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Front Bindings – Hello again, everyone! It’s nice to be back. And this is my first post in my new home. Funny how this doesn’t feel any different, and yet…this is the first time I’ve not lived in my home town. So many other parts of my life are so radically different from before, but it’s comforting to know that writing here is a little nostalgic in its own strange way…Anyway, you’re not here necessarily to read about my life changes. Let’s get to brass tacks and discuss a monstrous two volume set that stars two illustrators: the Heritage War and Peace.
War and Peace is arguably the great Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus; the George Macy Company agreed with this sentiment, publishing two versions of the classic, one for each publishing house (which was also done with Anna Karenina, but gave that particular book two LEC editions instead). The LEC received a six volume set in 1938, decorated by the esteemed Barnett Freedman (who also did the art for Anna Karenina). The Heritage Press, meanwhile, received this two volume set later in 1943, starring another prominent illustrator of Russian texts, Fritz Eichenberg. Eichenberg wasn’t alone on this edition, however; Macy licensed the paintings of Russian painter Vassily Verestchagin, who was at the time unpublished in the United States, to decorate the battle-filled second half of the book. Eichenberg is primarily reserved for the first volume. Before you get super excited, though, Eichenberg left his woodcutting tools out of the equation for this commission, and instead went with a simpler inked line approach for his artistry. It’s certainly adequate, but may not be as well-received as his exquisite woodcuts and lithographs that grace other Macy volumes. Tolstoy and Eichenberg would meet twice more (with his patented woodblocks) in the future for the LEC, with Resurrection and Childhood, Boyhood, Youth seeing his flourish in 1963 and 1974, respectively.
Design details are most abridged in this set; one page of the Sandglass is spent on the cast of the book, forcing Macy to gloss over most of the publication details. Perhaps World War II (which was in full swing at this point) caused the book to be printed in-house entirely? The boards are covered in a “silky maroon linen”, with gold leaf (mine appears silver) for Eichenberg’s design and for the spine’s text. Eichenberg contributed forty drawings, and Verestchagin’s paintings were taken from the Napoleonic campaigns collection at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. And…that’s all I can give you. However, Django6924 had plenty to say about the book’s release date, as well as an interesting story about Freedman (I had originally mentioned that Freedman died in 1958, and had supposed that this release followed his death):
Jerry, your Sandglass is the same as mine and dates from the initial HP release in 1943. When War and Peace was re-issued in 1951, it was in a single volume and the Sandglass didn’t have any details on the production either.
In your article you mention that since Freedman died in 1958, that this edition dates from then. It is one of those little details that make the collecting of HP editions a fascinating game of detective work! In fact, this statement proves how strange things were for Macy during the war, and how much confusion existed in those days before satellite communications. In fact, Macy, and many others, I’m sure, believed that Freedman had died serving as a War Artist–having been sent to France in April 1940 to record the work of the BEF–either during the near-disaster of Dunkirk, or being lost when the Bismarck sank HMS Hood, with with virtually the entire ship’s company.
Freedman was nearly lost at Dunkirk when he left the complement of War Artists to retrieve the one painting he had completed before the Germans forced the evacuation. As told in the wonderful book The Sketchbook War: Saving the Nation’s Artists in World War II (which features the exploits of several LEC illustrators), Freedman had “a last defiant meal on French soil before leaving the burning city–three bottles of champagne and a tin of bully beef” before getting on an ammunition boat which brought him to England. After this, he was posted, not on HMS Hood as Macy thought, but on HMS Repulse, which was one of the ships that sank the Bismarck. This is undoubtedly the origin on the comment “late, great painter” in the 1943 War and Peace Sandglass and the comment in the 1951 War and Peace Sandglass that Freedman was a survivor of the sinking of the Hood (in fact there were only two survivors) and a survivor of Dunkirk.
Isn’t that fascinating? Once again, World War II wrecks havoc on Macy’s plans, much like it did with Oedipus the King, This is the Hour, and Le Fleurs de Mal, among others. At least this one had a happy ending, and Freedman lived through his trials as a war painter (to ultimately come back and do Anna Karenina!). Funny how this post has been a bit of a circle, and how War and Peace seems to be an actual theme to the events of Macy’s artists, too!
Title Page – The text is taken from the LEC edition of War and Peace, which featured a modified translation by noted Tolstoy scholars Louise and Aylmer Maude. The latter also provides an introduction and many notes to the text. Macy made plenty of his own notes of how this is an exclusive to his printing houses, so he must have had some pride in acquiring it.
Examples of the Illustrations by Eichenberg and Verestchagin (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Part I Opening – Eichenberg’s linework is nice, but I do admit that his woodworking skills would have been preferable. They’re just so amazing, and while these sketches are also high quality, they lack the dynamism his woodcuts emote.
Page 207 – Verestchagin was a soldier, and his paintings suggest the wear and glory of being involved in a major war.
Page 637 – Adore this one.
Personal Notes – This is a set I’ve wanted for some time, and it came in the bunch of Heritage titles I acquired from the Oakhurst Library. Still need to read it, though.
Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):
The Chronicle of the Cid, translated by Robert Southey (1958) Sandglass Number VI:23 Artwork: Illustrations by René Ben Sussan Introduced by V.S. Pritchett Reprint of LEC #289, 26th Series, V. 10, in 1958.
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Front Binding – First of all, it’s nice to return to writing about these books. The last few months have been remarkably hectic, stressful and harried. While there are some things I still need to do for my future, I desperately needed an outlet to write. Sharing the beautiful titles George Macy and his family produced is a fine way to accomplish that.
Anyway, let’s focus in on The Chronicle of the Cid, our selection for today. The Cid (pronounced “Sid” in English; “Theed” in Spanish) is essentially the Spanish equivalent of King Arthur in terms of hero and myth. The Spanish legend was rendered into the English language by Robert Southey, a productive (if not exactly prodigious in terms of the modern English pantheon) poet and essayist, which he finished in 1808, some 700 years after the death of The Cid (aka Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar). This was the sole work Southey had produced by the George Macy Company and its subsequent presses.
We get to introduce René Ben Sussan to the blog readership today, a man who certainly devoted a fair amount of his artistic time to George Macy’s books. Here is a biography of the commissions Ben Sussan took on for the presses:
The School of Scandal, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1934 (LEC) A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens, 1938 (Heritage only, part of the Heritage Dickens series) Old Goriot, Honore de Balzac, 1948 (LEC, was part of the Heritage/Nonesuch French Romances series, and that edition came out in 1949) Volpone, or the Fox, Ben Jonson, 1952 (LEC) The Rivals, Richard Brinslet Sheridan, 1953 (LEC) The Chronicle of the Cid, Robert Southey, 1958 (LEC/Heritage) Eugenie Grandet, Honore de Balzac, 1960 (LEC/Heritage) The Memoirs of Casanova, 1972 (LEC)
Of note is the two-for-one issue of The Rivals and The School for Scandal for the Heritage Press. One seller lists a Sandglass of VI:18, which GMD member featherwate passed along some info on:
Sandglass VI:18 is from November 1953, and says:
“a most unusual book, a book in which Sheridan’s two great comedies are printed together, the text and the illustrations being borrowed from that edition of The School for Scandal which The Limited Editions Club published in 1934, and from that edition of The Rivals which The Limited Editions Club distributed to its lucky members only last year.”
Only last year should mean 1952, but according to Bill Majure’s guide, the LEC Rivals did not come out until September 1953 – only two months before the two-in-one HP volume. Maybe it had been intended to come out in 1952, but had been delayed. 1953 was an unusual year: it saw LEC members receiving three plays (the first two of them illustrated by ben Sussan!) in the space of five months: Volpone in July, The Rivals in September and Cyrano in November. That sounds as if there had had to be some last-minute reshuffling of the LEC Twenty-third Series. If anyone has the Prospectus for that series it might provider [sp] a clue…
Ben Sussan has a rather distinctive style that, for me at least, can clash with my perceptions of artistic aesthetic. However, I feel that with The Cid his gouache drawings fit in quite nicely with the text. The color choices, linework and blending of medieval and modern sensibilities are wonderfully executed, and out of the books I’ve seen of his art, this is the pinnacle.
Design Notes – Ben Sussan also designed the book, utilizing frequent Macy designer Jan van Krimpen’s Romulus Bold as the primary font. This was set at the Enschedé, a printing house in Holland, and the Heritage edition was taken from vinylite moulds of the LEC text by New York’s Ferris Printing Company. The Warren Paper Company of Maine supplied the paper. Ben Sussan’s work was reprinted by Kellogg & Bulkeley of Connecticut, and the books were bound by the ever-present Russell-Rutter Company, who seemingly bound 90% or so of the Heritage Press catalog. The binding features Ben Sussan’s lovely Moorish pattern that sold me on this book before I even opened it.
Title Page – V.S. Pritchett was called upon to write up an introduction.
Examples of the Illustrations by Ben Sussan (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Page 6 – Ben Sussan skirts the styles of traditional medieval art with some modern sensibilities, and it’s quite an effective blending.
Page 17 – Ben Sussan also composed header images per chapter.
Personal Notes – I purchased this from Bookbuyers in Monterey a few years ago on store credit, if memory serves. The distinctive binding, as I mentioned before, caught my eye. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but the Sandglass does a splendid job of making it sound intriguing!
Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):