Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: Tono-Bungay by H.G. Wells (1960)

September 5, 2016 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club/Heritage Press: Tono-Bungay by H.G. Wells (1960)

Limited Editions Club

Tono-Bungay by H.G. Wells (1960)
LEC #307/28th Series V. 4 in 1960
Artwork: Drawings by Lynton Lamb
Introduced by Norman H. Strouse

#660 of 1500. Heritage edition detailed below.

Click to see larger views.

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Front Binding – It’s yet another round of updating an older Heritage post with LEC information; this time, the perhaps surprising choice of H.G. Wells’ Tono-Bungay. I say surprising because Wells is now well-regarded for his contributions to science fiction, laying a lot of the initial groundwork for the genre today. However, the Limited Editions Club picked Tono-Bungay, a somewhat autobiographical novel that the Monthly Letter and Sandglass reveals that the author considered his finest work in fiction, as their first release of his. They followed up Tono-Bungay with two books of three of his better known works: The Time Machine & The War of the Worlds, with Joe Mugnaini’s art in 1964, and The Invisible Man, with Charles Mozley (who also did Shaw’s Man and Superman) providing the illustrations in 1967.

Tono-Bungay was Lynton Lamb’s second commission for the LEC, following his work on George Eliot’s Silas Marner in 1953. He would receive one more offer with the Club for Joseph Addison’s The Spectator in 1970. His drawings for this work come in two forms; black-and-white pieces (39) and full-color (15). Lamb was asked by the Club how he performed his full-color plates, which I’ll quote a piece of (you can read the rest in the Sandglass scans below on page 4):

I draw my basic design in black ink on a coloured paper which I also heighten with white. (The coloured paper I choose is one that is of a middle strength between light and dark; and for block making purposes I have used a middle blue, although once the blocks are made, this part of the design may be printed in another colour. The other colours are then drawn on separate sheets of tracing paper in black to give the necessary combination of overprinting.)

Design Notes – This was designed by Bert Clarke of Clarke and Way in New York (aka The Thistle Press), who also did the pub duties for both variants of the book. I will pause to highlight Clarke and Way, as they were Bert Clarke and David Way, who both used to be employed by the George Macy Company as part of the Heritage Press. They named their press after their mentor, one of the most distinguished members of the LEC/Heritage printing canon, Bruce Rogers.

The text is Caslon Old Style No. 337 (the Sandglass tackles the obvious gag of “is there 226 other Caslon fonts?” in its next sentence) while the block divisions and chapter headings are graced with Craw Clarendon typeface. The text was then printed by Clarke and Way for the LEC and by the New York Lithographing Company for the Heritage.

Unfortunately, I do not have the monthly letter to further elaborate on the LEC. I will see if my friends in the Devotees may be able to assist me.

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Spine

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Norman H. Strouse, the President of J. Walter Thompson Company in New York (at the time, the Sandglass gushes, “the most fabulous, amazing, tremendous, supercolossal advertising agency in the whole wide world”), delivers an Introduction.

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Colophon – This is copy 660 of 1500, and Lamb provides his signature.

Examples of the Illustrations by Lamb – I’m skipping the Gallery again so I don’t have to do it twice; it will hopefully make the comparisons easier to see.

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Page 16 – Lamb’s illustrations are a little subdued, which is appropriate for the text. Not my favorite, I must admit, but they work. The colors blend quite nicely, and the scenes are well depicted.

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Page 33

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Page 26 – I skipped the black and white linework last time; not so now!

Personal Notes – How weird that this too, like Herodotus’ volume, took five years to acquire since I originally posted about it! This also came from Liz, the very nice person who sent me a bunch of books gratis a few months back. Thanks again!

Heritage Press

Tono-Bungay by H.G. Wells (1960)
Sandglass Number VI: 26
Artwork: Drawings by Lynton Lamb
Introduced by Norman H. Strouse
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #307/28th Series V. 4 in 1960

Click to see larger views.

Front Binding – The design for the binding changed things up a little between editions; one of Lamb’s illustrations were utilized for a little extra decoration, and the spine was toned down a little (the bottle is still there, but it’s not as prominent a design element). Otherwise, the inside is essentially the same, right to the reprinting of Lamb’s artwork (in the same color scheme as the LEC no less!). After George Macy’s passing, several LECs had their color palette reduced or stripped out in their conversion to a Heritage, but that is not the case here.

Other design notes for the Heritage: it features Saturn-wove paper specifically made for the Press by the Crocker Burbank Company of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Lamb’s plates were made by John Swain & Company in London, sailed over to America on the Queen Mary, and printed by Clarke and Way. The boards are covered with “a staunch natural-finish cloth…a symphony of rose-reds.” The spine has the book’s title, Wells’ name and a bottle of the titular elixir stamped in gold, which were done by the ever-busy Russell-Rutter Company in New York. One of Lamb’s drawings adorns the front cover.

Title Page – No fancy colors here like the LEC.

Page 16 – The reprints of the LEC plates turned out well; there’s not a huge difference in quality. Perhaps Clarke and Way’s involvement here helped?

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Personal Notes – I haven’t read this novel, but I do think it’s a nice-looking book with quite a bit of charm. I got this copy from Page One Used Books, my good friend’s bookshop, before she retired (the same friend I traded Brownings with) for free for helping out with the store. Amazing how many HP books I got that way…it lacked a slipcase, but the condition was otherwise fantastic. I no longer have it (I have a LEC, naturally).

Sandglass:

Updated 9/5/2016 by JF

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Heritage Press – The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Anonymous (1960)

August 10, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Anonymous (1960)

The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by Anonymous (1960)
Sandglass Number
Artwork: Illustrations by Serge Ivanoff
Retold by Joseph Bedier, Translated by Hilaire Belloc and Paul Rosenfield, Introduced by Padaric Colum
Reprint of LEC #316, 29th Series, V. 1 in 1960

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Today I bring you The Romance of Tristan and Iseult. Issued as a LEC in 1960, this Heritage edition quickly followed, and in my opinion it’s a rather amazing book in the post George Macy years. This was originally a French medieval legend told through poetry that has been passed down through many centuries; Frenchman Joseph Bedier provides the foundation of this myth for this edition. This is a prose rendition of the text. Tristan and Iseult inspired the Arthurian legends that sprung in England; Tristan himself made an appearance in one tale hunting for the Holy Grail as a knight of the Round Table, from what the Wikipedia page tells me. He appears in Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (which does have a LEC/Heritage edition floating around!), too. Anyway! Bedier appears to have been quite entangled with the legend, as he pops up all over the place on that particular page. So good choice!

Illustrator Serge Ivanoff did not leave a good first impression on me. I found his interpretation of Moliere’s two plays rather unremarkable; it’s the sole LEC I may sell off someday out of the ones I have. I have noticed that the artistic style utilized to illustrate that text does not work well for me. T.M. Cleland’s similar approach with Oliver Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer left the same feeling of apathy in me. However, this particular commission? Holy cow, I am impressed. This is a gorgeously rendered book. I’m dumbfounded at the distinct divide in quality and pleasure I derive from his two commissions for the George Macy Company. This came first, and is certainly the more daring of the two; perhaps Ivanoff decided to really show off his talents for this book. Well, it’s all the better for it, as you’ll soon see.

Design notes: Adrian Wilson designed this edition, his first for the Company. He went on to do the Plays of Christopher Marlowe, The Oresteia and Russian Folk Tales, among others, I’m sure. He’s emerging as my favorite post-George Macy designer, because he had an incredible knack for making stunning Heritage books in an age where the quality was diminishing without George’s guidance. His editions maintained a level of class not many others from the 60’s and 70’s convey. Anyway, there’s a bio about him if you’d like to learn more; let’s move on to the particulars of this book. Bembo 16 point is the font of choice, with Centaur (a Bruce Rogers design!) used for the initials and running heads of the text. The lovely T&I design is utilized throughout; the illustrations feature them on the back of their pages, even! The paper is of a special suede make provided by the Mead Paper Company, with Connecticut Printers of Hartford applying the font to them. Russell-Rutter, that ever-prominent bindery for Heritage (and a few LEC’s!) editions, continues that standard here.

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Slipcase

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Spine – I quite like this one. It’s got a lovely design.

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Title Page – As mentioned above, Joseph Bidier provides the base of the text, which translators Hilaire Belloc and Paul Rosenfield dutifully render into English. The text is introduced by Padaric Colum. Splendid title page all the way around, from Wilson’s design to Ivanoff’s stunning tapestry-esque paintings.

Examples of the Illustrations by Ivanoff (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Personal Notes – I traded in a few books at Bookbuyers in Monterey for this one. Definitely a post-Macy highlight if you ask me; I wish Ivanoff could have replicated his success here in the later Moliere. Oh well.

Sandglass (right click and select Open in New Tab to see full size):

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