June 2, 2014 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1966)
Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1966)
Sandglass Number III:31*
Artwork: Illustrations by Charles Raymond
Introduced by John T. Winterich
Reprint of LEC #380, 34th Series, V. 6, in 1966.
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – This telltale binding ought to reveal that we’re covering yet another Heritage Dickens! This time, it’s the lesser-regarded (but, in my opinion, most excellent) novel Hard Times. Prior Dickens works covered here so far have been The Pickwick Papers and Five Christmas Stories. The latter includes Dickens’ complete LEC/Heritage bibliography. Hard Times is a wonderful work that examines poverty, class and greed in a British industrial city, and I greatly enjoyed my reading of it this past semester. In particular, I adore Cecelia “Sissy” Jupe and her defiance of everything expected of a Victorian woman, but the remainder of the novel is quite good, too.
A new artist joins the fold with this book: Charles Raymond. This was his first commission, and he went on to tackle Rudyard Kipling’s Tales of East and West for the Cardevon Press-owned LEC in 1973. To be frank, Raymond’s artwork here is rather lackluster. It renders Dickens’ bold characterizations with a lifelessness I have not seen for some time. It may be the choice of coloring, but I am ultimately unimpressed. Shame, too, as I did think about acquiring the book since I enjoyed it so much! Maybe the LEC is a bit better.
GMD member featherwate passed along some key details from the Sandglass about Raymond and the design info, so I’ll paste that below (with my thanks!):
When Charles Raymond prepared to illustrate our book, he was surprised to find that Hard Times had rarely been issued in an illustrated edition. Therefore, we are all the more pleased that our edition contains his fifteen wash drawings in color — fourteen full-page and a double spread. In addition you will find that each of the thirty-seven chapters opens with a Raymond line drawing. The Charles Raymond we are talking about is a forty-two-year-old English artist to whom colors have an especial meaning, for his addiction is botanical painting and fabric design. No wonder that when he reread Hard Times it appeared to him in terms of the spectrum. Here is his explanation: ‘I became aware of the colours of aging — browns, greens, and brown-greens — and decided that these should be my colours. I felt strongly that the nearer I came to monochromatic interpretation the better would be the final result.’ These smoky wash drawings, which convincingly evoke the special atmosphere of Coketown, have been reproduced with wonderful fidelity by The Connecticut Printers of Bloomfield, Connecticut.
Charles Raymond has produced paintings for a series of volumes on the old garden roses with Sacheverell Sitwell; the Queen Mother headed the impressive list of subscribers. He illustrated The Complete Library of the Garden for The Reader’s Digest Association, Limited, and he has recently been completing the same firm’s guide to Great Britain. Raymond has done a set of rose paintings for Conde Nast and he regularly illustrates for New Society, the weekly survey of the social sciences. ‘I am deeply interested in female and child fashion,’ Charles Raymond has informed us, ‘more so since the coming of the boutique. These latter interests are stimulated by my beautiful young German wife and our three children, two daughters and a son, ages two, four, and five years.’ (The Raymond family lives in Wye, Kent.)
“One reason for the sheer readability of our volumes of Dickens’s works is that the type is Baskerville, a smooth-flowing, clear face which Joe Blumenthal specified back there in 1937 and which your Hard Times proudly displays in the eleven-point size, with two points of leading. The illustrations and the text of this Heritage Club offering were printed by The Connecticut Printers of Bloomfield, Connecticut, on a specially made wove paper, tough and pure in content, manufactured by the Monadnock Paper Company of Bennington, New Hampshire. The gray linen cover, stamped with the decorations originally drawn for us by Clarence Pearson Hornung, is one of the few uniform cover designs in the Heritage roster; the two shelfback sketches of characters from Hard Times were provided by Charles Raymond. This binding was performed by the Russell-Rutter Company of New York.
Title Page – Despite the lack of a proper announcement on the title page, George Macy Company’s John T. Winterich does give a brief introduction to this book.
Examples of the Illustrations by Raymond (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I intended on using Raymond’s illustrations for a post on my other blog discussing Hard Times (if you are curious, it’s here), so I checked this out from the library. After seeing them, I declined. I’d like to see the LEC to see if the coloration of the art is different, but as of right now I’m not interested in owning this, despite loving the book.
As a final curio about Mr. Raymond, featherwate also notified me that Mr. Raymond and his wife were the models for Alex Comfort’s seminal The Joy of Sex‘s illustrations, which Raymond also drew. In fact, knowing that now, I can see the resemblance between that book and this one’s art. The more you know!
Updated 6/6/2014 JF
January 7, 2014 Comments Off on Heritage Press: A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1966)
A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1966)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduced by Isaac Asimov
Reprint of LEC #387, 35th Series, V. 1, in 1966.
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Jules Verne makes his debut today, as does one of the Limited Editions Club’s most prominent illustrators, Edward A. Wilson! Verne had five works published by the LEC, four of which Wilson illustrated. Verne did not see publication until after George Macy’s death in 1954, suggesting that the author was perhaps one of Helen Macy’s favorites, given the radical increase in the production of Verne’s books. It goes without saying that Verne is one of the grandmasters and originators of the science fiction genre, and the LEC rendered five of his greatest stories, which I’ll list below:
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, 1956, Edward A. Wilson
The Mysterious Island, 1959, Edward A. Wilson
Around the World in Eighty Days, 1962, Edward A. Wilson
A Journey of the Center of the Earth, 1966, Edward A. Wilson
From the Earth to the Moon, and Around the Moon (2 volumes), 1970, Robert Shore
Wilson finished his illustrious career for the George Macy Companies with this book, spending 36 years of his life rendering artwork for many classics for Macy and other publishers. He passed away in 1970. He is one of two artists who received a special Heritage Press edition featuring their artwork; Arthur Szyk was the other. Let’s detail the LEC books he had a hand in:
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DeFoe, 1930
Green Mansions by W.H. Hudson, 1935 (no Heritage edition; they would print their own with Miguel Covarrubias’ watercolors)
The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale, 1936
Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen, 1937 (no Heritage edition)
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1941
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1945
Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley, 1947
The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, 1949
Ivanhoe by Walter Scott, 1951
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1952
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne,1956
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne, 1959
The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, 1961
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne, 1962
A Journey of the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne,1966
For the Heritage Press, Wilson also did:
A Shropshire Lad by A.E. Housman, 1935
The Book Of Edward A. Wilson A Survey of His work 1916-1948, 1948
As you can see, Wilson was among the more utilized artists in the history of the Club. For this work, I think Wilson was a good choice. His style syncs well enough with the vision of Verne to coincide nicely.
I can’t offer you any design notes this time, as I inadvertently bought this without the Sandglass!
Title Page – Isaac Asimov, a more contemporary grandmaster of sci-fi, was recruited in for the introduction. Asimov is an intriguing character in his own right, as he tried to publish one book in every literary genre during his timeline.
Examples of the Illustrations by Wilson (right click and open in new tab for full size):
Personal Notes – I bought this from Bookbuyers in Monterey, CA last year. Verne is a little hard for me to find for some reason, so I jumped at the chance to own one of his books in a Heritage edition.
February 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
Prometheus Bound and Prometheus Unbound by Aeschylus/Percy Bysshe Shelley (1966)
Sandglass Number XI:30
Artwork: Drawings by John Farleigh
Prometheus Bound translated by Rex Warner, who also provides a Preface
Reprint of LEC #367/33rd Series V. 5 in 1965
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Binding – The sun was a little abusive to this shot, but I think you can still get the gist of what it looks like. Both front and back boards, colored black , have this neat gold-stamped “flame” column that runs from top to bottom. Russell-Rutter bound this edition, which was (as its LEC forebear) designed by Jan Van Krimpen’s assistant Hendrik Clewits (Van Krimpen passed away in 1958). Clewits mimicked his old ally in terms of his design choices, utilizing Van Krimpen’s Spectrum font, which was set at Van Krimpen’s old studio Joh. Enschede en Zonen. I’m sure they printed the LEC edition, but the Heritage Press went with Michael Pagliaro’s printing press, the Holyoke Lithograph Company, in Holyoke, Massachusetts for their edition. They also reprinted John Farleigh’s incredible illustrations. Mohawk Paper Company provided the paper.
Aeschylus, one of the legendary Greek dramatists, got a fairly late induction into the George Macy canon, with his classic trilogy The Oresteia debuting in 1961, followed by this book in 1965 for the LEC. While it took some time, at least both of them are quite lovely and highlight the majority of Aeschylus’ important works. Percy Bysshe Shelley also had a post-George Macy introduction, with this being his first production by the Club, as well as the last under the Macy family. Cardevon produced a book with his poetry in 1971 that tied into the British Poet line that Helen Macy began. His wife Mary, known for Frankenstein of course, had a significantly earlier appearance with that particular novel being produced in 1934 for the LEC (which the Heritage Press reprinted in the ’60’s).
John Farleigh was a master in woodcuts, and I go into his career with the Club fairly extensively in my post on The Histories of Shakespeare. This was his concluding work for the Company, passing away before he could sign any of the LEC editions. As of present, this is his masterwork for the George Macy books he produced that I’ve seen. Wondrous stuff within these pages.
Title Page – Man, I adore Farleigh’s work here. It’s very fantastical. The Sandglass reports that Farleigh mixed line and wash techniques to create “tones and subtleties that we don’t often see in this medium”. They are most exquisite.
Rex Warner handled translation duties on Aeschylus’ half of this puzzle, and also provided a preface to the overall work. Warner also introduced The Oresteia, making him the Macy expert on this author it would seem. Now, I don’t believe that this combination of two separate authors happened all too often in the LEC or Heritage Press, so this has a uniqueness to it.
Cast Page of Prometheus Bound – Astounding. What more can I say?
Personal Notes – This is a curious book in my collection. When I acquired it I was employed at a bookshop in my hometown. Owners of another book store in Monterey, California frequently came up to Yosemite and established a rapport with my boss. On a visit to Monterey, I visited their shop and let them know I worked for their acquittance by Yosemite. Well, I had this book in my hand and it was unpriced, so I asked the clerk how much they wanted for it. They gave it to me. I was a little stunned, and thanked the clerk profusely. Alas, a few years later when I revisited the shop, the same person had forgotten me (and apparently my former boss), and was bitter about the shop’s decline in sales. It was not a super pleasant shopping experience, so I don’t know if I’ll ever return there. I’ll keep the name of the store off the record – I’m not here to slander. But I am thankful to have this lovely book regardless of changing attitudes.
January 8, 2012 § 2 Comments
Four Plays by Christopher Marlowe – Tamburlaine the Great (Parts I and II), Doctor Faustus and Edward the Second (1966)
Sandglass Number: VII-32
Artwork: Monogram Woodcuts by Fritz Kredel, Copperplate Engravings by Albert Decaris
Introduced by Havelock Ellis
Reprint of LEC #377, 34th Series, V. 3 in 1966
Click images for larger views.
Front Binding – Before beginning proper, let me say welcome to 2012! While my sixteen LEC’s are all on the blog, there’s no shortage of Heritage books for me to document (and I do have plans to further build my LEC collection throughout the year), and this is a lovely place to start.
Christopher Marlowe was one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and was arguably the more famous playwright in that era of dramatic intrigue in England. Marlowe’s life was cut short due to a bar fight that ended with his death, so his talents never had a chance to fully blossom. His legacy has had to settle for second best, along with Ben Jonson and Thomas Kyd, other dramatists of that age, while Shakespeare became the champion of England’s literary canon. To further my point, Shakespeare saw several books from the George Macy Company, while Marlowe finally got four of his more prominent works compiled into a LEC edition in 1966. This Heritage reprint is one of the finest editions done of a LEC reissue, and some even consider its binding superior to the LEC. Definitely a highlight of the Helen Macy tenure. The front and back boards are a lovely shade of green (mottled green leather, the Sandglass says), but that’s not the highlight.
Spine – Here, this is the eye-catcher. The spine is beautiful, one of the greatest looking of all of the Heritage books, rivaling the fine editions of the LEC. Adrian Wilson, the book’s designer, created the motif of these charming monograms and had frequent Macy contributor Fritz Kredel render them in woodcut. These were stamped in pure gold leaf, and bound by the Russell-Rutter Company with William Fortney overseeing the process.
Title Page – Havelock Ellis, a noted psychologist who pioneered several key advances in the study of sexuality (including the concept of narcissism), had apparently been a fan of drama, and in the midst of all of his many works he found time to write about the playwright twice – as Editor of Christopher Marlowe… With a General Introduction on the English Drama During the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I by J.A. Symonds, in 1887, and From Marlowe to Shaw, published after his death in 1939. I’m not sure where the LEC pulled this intro from, but I’d wager it’s from one of those works.
Albert Decaris served only this commission to the Limited Editions Club, but his acclaim in his native France has been extraordinary. He was best known for his engravings, which is what he supplies here. He did illustrations for over 200 books at the time of this release, including what must have been a lovely edition of Don Quixote – it’s a shame he never had his services called upon a second time.
In other publication details, it was printed by the New York Lithographing Company, on paper produced by the Mead Paper Mill. The text is Bembo (main text) and Carolus (main titles).
Page 5 – An example of the text.
Page 12 – This is my favorite piece within the book. The linework is absolutely incredible. Again, a shame Decaris only did this one book.
Personal Notes – I have wanted this book for a long time, but I finally picked it up courtesy of my current bookselling appointment. I got it for free for volunteering there before being officially hired. Lovely book, glad to own it!
October 15, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – Two Plays by Anton Chekhov (1966, NY and Connecticut)
Two Plays (Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard) by Anton Chekhov (1966/1966* [NY/Conn]))
Sandglass Number: None (weird…a Connecticut-era omission, mayhaps?)
Artwork – Illustrated by Lajos Szalay
Translated by Constance Garnett, Introduced by John Gielgud
Reprint of LEC #385/34th Series V. 11 in 1966
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Binding – Ah, now I can update this post for some comparisons! The Connecticut binding (on the right) is a fairly sterile binding job, although the three cherries is a clever homage to the two Anton Chekhov plays it contains – The Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard. The New York printing is with a maroon cloth, with a nice centerpiece of Chekhov’s initials. Bert Clarke of Clarke and Way (aka The Thistle Press) handled the design duties of the original book – I’m not sure if Cardevon recruited him to do the Connecticut binding as well.
As for Chekhov, he got recognition from the Limited Editions Club rather late in its history – this was the first collection of his work, in this case, his two great dramas, and in 1973 Cardevon would put out a compilation of his short stories. Apparently Macy didn’t think much of Chekhov during his tenure, or merely forgot to include him alongside the other Russian legends like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenev and Pushkin that did receive lovely editions in the heyday of the LEC.
Title Page – Sir John Gielgud, very well known for his Shakespearean performances, provides an Introduction to Chekhov’s dramas, and Lajos Szalay is its illustrator. I must admit, Szalay’s art style isn’t really to my taste. However, it was to Cardevon, who hired him to perform artistic embellishment to the Stories of Chekhov I mentioned above as well as Turgenev’s The Torrents of Spring in 1976. Perhaps you will see something that pleases you in my examples. The color pieces are tempura paintings.
Clarke utilized 12 point English Monotype Garamond for its text, but that’s all the Sandglass lets out of its production notes. It instead goes for a near page on Gielgud’s storied career, which is all well and good, but makes it hard to document books on this blog!
Page 6 – One of Szalay’s tempura paintings. I think the linework is what distracts me from enjoyment – it’s almost a little too rough for me. Anyway, the printings seem fairly comparable – the Connecticut print is a little fuzzier, but I may have zoomed in a bit closer and it wasn’t quite as focused.
Personal Notes – I bought this copy at my current book employment years before I was employed there. I didn’t realize the Connecticut/New York distinction at the time, which I have now fully comprehended and rarely buy Connecticut titles these days. I sold that one off to get some other HP titles in 2011. I was given a copy of the New York edition in January 2012 by my good friend John. It was incomplete, but in very good shape. The Connecticut slipcase doesn’t quite squeeze around it as nicely as it did for its original host, but it’s better than nothing!
* -A strong piece of evidence that Cardevon rarely changed the dates of the Macy’s initial printings to reflect their reprint.
March 13, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press: The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope (1966)
The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope (1966)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrated by Donald Spencer
Introduced by S.C. Roberts
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #378/34th Series V. 4 in 1966.
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Binding -Hey, I finally got my hands on a proper edition of the book! Ignore the awkward fuzz in the bottom right corner. I imagine my camera strap fell into the shot. Anyway, the boards are a lovely maroon cloth, with the “Vivat Ruritania” seal stamped in gold on the front. Alas, I did not receive a Sandglass with this, so I’m still in the dark as to who designed the book and with what materials.
The Prisoner of Zenda is the sole work of Anthony Hope’s produced by either club. This is his best known work, so I suppose that makes sense. Donald Spencer was also a one-off artist for the LEC, this being his sole contribution. His style is a good match for this work.
Slipcase – A fancy slipcase!
Title Page – The bold illustration by Spencer goes well with the stylistic fonts and smaller illustrations that break up the title and its fellow contributors. S.C. Roberts provides an introduction.
Page 5 – An example of Spencer’s linework that decorate the text throughout. He also did several color plates, another of which you can see below.
Page 142 – Rather nice. This is my favorite in the book.
Personal Notes – I originally checked this book out to document it here, but I recently acquired it with my 50 book haul from the Oakhurst Library. It’s in lovely condition, although the lack of a Sandglass hurts a little. One dollar is an unbeatable price regardless of completion, though!
Any and all info on this book’s design process would be very useful! If you have a Sandglass or LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing! Thanks!
Updated 5/29/2012 – JF