Trivia: The 10 Most Frequent Artists in the LEC

May 28, 2016 § 2 Comments

Hey, remember the trivia category? Well, I’m bringing it back. This time, let’s examine who George Macy and the subsequent owners of the Limited Editions Club commissioned the most over the Club’s long tenure!

10) Sylvain Sauvage (7)
zadig-page

Sauvage illustrated several French classics for the LEC, including Cyrano de Bergerac, The History of Zadig (pictured), and two works of Anatole France, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard and At the Sign of the Queen Pedauque. He also handled As You Like It in the LEC Shakespeare.

9) Rene ben Sussan (8)
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ben Sussan had two commissions of Honore de Balzac, rendering the worlds of Old Goriot   and Eugenie Grandet as part of his eight titles for the LEC. He also had a hand in English drama, providing art for Jonson’s Volpone, the Fox and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. Pictured is The Chronicle of the Cid.

8) John Austen (8)
vanitypage

Several British works were illustrated by Austen: Vanity Fair (pictured), The Comedy of Errors, The Faerie Queene, The Pickwick Club, and The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. He also branched out a little with Aristophanes’ The Birds.

7) Agnes Miller Parker (8)
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The sole woman on our list, Parker’s exquisite woodcuts brought life to all of Thomas Hardy’s novels printed by the Club, as well as The Faerie Queene (pictured), Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard, Richard the Second, and The Poems of Shakespeare.

6) T.M. Cleland (8)
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A talented designer as well as artist, Cleland’s artistic gifts were displayed a little less frequently, but often enough to earn a place on our list. Some of his works include The Decameron, The History of Tom Jones, The Way of the World, She Stoops to Conquer and The Life and Times of Tristan Shandy, Gentleman. Pictured is Monsieur Beauclaire.

5) Valenti Angelo (12)
rolandpage

The simplistic yet stylistic grace of Angelo graced a dozen books of the LEC, and several of them are masterworks of literature: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, The House of the Seven Gables, The Books of a Thousand Nights and a Night, Songs of the Portuguese,  and several religious texts, like The Koran, The Book of Proverbs and The Book of Psalms. Pictured is The Song of Roland.

4) Lynd Ward (13)
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Ward’s thirteen contributions mark him as one of the most prominent illustrators for Macy, and he didn’t even work on the LEC Shakespeare like the majority of the others on this list! Ward’s commissions ranged from non-fiction works such as Rights of Man and On Conciliation with America to fantastical works such as Beowulf and Idylls of the King to contemporary works like The Innocent Voyage (pictured) and For Whom the Bell Tolls.

3) Fritz Eichenberg (15)
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The gifted Eichenberg worked the longest stretch of any of our artists; his first commission was 1939’s Richard the Third for the LEC Shakespeare to 1986’s The Diary of a Country Priest. One of the few to work under late Club owner Sid Shiff, Eichenberg’s output left the LEC a lasting legacy that is difficult to ignore. Best known for his work on the Russian legends of literature, including Eugene Onegin, Crime and Punishment (pictured), Fathers and Sons, and Childhood, Boyhood, Youth.

2) Edward A. Wilson (17)

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Wilson was productive, to say the least; he even had his own Heritage volume detailing his artwork! Among the many classics he brought visual splendor to are Westward Ho! (pictured), Treasure Island, The Tempest, Robinson Crusoe, Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

1) Fritz Kredel (20)
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And finally we come to Fritz Kredel, the king of illustrating for the LEC with a massive twenty volumes! Many collections of fairy tales were conjured by Kredel, including both Andersen (pictured) and the Brothers Grimm. Two Shakespeares, two Trollopes, two Twains, Thackeray, Darwin, Austen, Plato and Heine were among the literary giants Kredel decorated for Macy, and his talent was certainly up to such a diverse palette of books.

Next time, we’ll explore the most frequent Heritage Press artists in terms of their exclusives. We’ll see how many of these artisans cross over!

Of Interest – The Illustrators of the LEC Shakespeare

April 29, 2012 Comments Off on Of Interest – The Illustrators of the LEC Shakespeare

While I’ve yet to cover most of the exquisite LEC Shakespeares, I’ve had a devil of a time trying to find a complete list of the illustrators for the 39 volume set. Well, I’m happy to present to you that very coveted list, in a typed form, so that it’ll be available to LEC collectors looking for books from their favorite illustrators. All of the books were designed by Bruce Rogers.

All’s Well that Ends Well – Drawings by Richard Floethe, printed in color by A. Colish

Antony and Cleopatra – Wood engravings by Enric-Cristobal Ricart, pulled by R.& R. Clark and hand-colored by Jean Saude

As You Like It – Watercolors by Sylvain Sauvage, hand-colored by Mourlot Freres

The Comedy of Errors – Wood engravings by John Austen, pulled and printed in 5 colors by R.& R. Clark

Coriolanus – Tempura paintings by C. Pal Molnar, lithographed in 15 colors by Mourlot Freres

Cymbeline – Lithographs by Yngve Berg, pulled by the Curwen Press

Hamlet – Dry-brush drawings by Edy Legrand, printed in collotype/black/gray by Georges Duval

Henry the Fourth Part I – Color lithographs by Barnett Freedman, pulled by the Curwen Press

Henry the Fourth Part II – Watercolors by Edward Bawden, hand-colored by Jean Saude and printed in collotype by Georges Duval

Henry the Fifth – Pencil drawings by Vera Willoughby, lithographed by Mourlot Freres

Henry the Sixth Part I – Lithographs by Graham Sutherland, pulled by the Curwen Press

Henry the Sixth Part II – Lithographs by Carlotta Petrina, pulled by George C. Miller

Henry the Sixth Part III – Colored line drawings by Jean Charlot, printed in 3 colors by A. Colish

Henry the Eighth – Wood engravings by Eric Gill, pulled by A. Colish

Julius Caesar – Wood engravings by Frans Masereel, pulled by A. Colish

King John – Line drawings in three colors plus gold by Valenti Angelo, printed by A. Colish

King Lear – Brush drawings by Boardman Robinson, printed in collotype in black/2 grays by Georges Duval

Love’s Labour Lost – Crayon and wash drawings by Mariette Lydis, printed in collotype in black/gray by Georges Duval

Macbeth – Color drawings by Gordon Craig, lithographed by Mourlot Freres

Measure for Measure – Color lithographs by Hugo Steiner-Prag, pulled by Mourlot Freres

The Merchant of Venice – Watercolors by Rene ben Sussan, printed by both Mourlot Freres and Georges Duval, hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume

The Merry Wives of Windsor – Color drawings by Gordon Ross, printed in collotype in black and sanguine by Georges Duval, then hand-colored (does not state by whom…Ross, maybe?)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Watercolors by Arthur Rackham, lithographed in 4 colors by Mourlot Freres, hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume

Much Ado About Nothing – Watercolors by Fritz Kredel, printed in collotype by Georges Duval and hand-colored by Jean Saude

Othello – Wood engravings by Robert Gibbings, pulled by A. Colish

Pericles, Prince of Tyre – Wood engravings by Stanislas Ostoja-Chrostowski, pulled by A. Colish

Richard the Second – Wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker, pulled by A. Colish

Richard the Third – Lithographs by Fritz Eichenberg, pulled by George C. Miller

Romeo and Juliet – Color line drawings by Ervine Metzl, printed in 2 colors by A. Colish

The Taming of the Shrew – Line drawings by W.A. Dwiggins, printed in sanguine by A. Colish

The Tempest -Watercolors by Edward A. Wilson, printed by both Georges Duval (collotype) and Mourlot Freres (2 colors), hand-colored by Maurice Beaufume

Timon of Athens – Wood engravings by George Buday, pulled by A. Colish

Titus Andronicus – Watercolors by Nikolai Fyodorovitch Lapshin, lithographed by Mourlot Freres

Troilus and Cressida – Wood engravings by Demetrius Galanis, pulled in black/terra cotta by Dehon et Cie

Twelfth Night, or What You Will – Watercolors by Francesco Carnevali, lithographed by Mourlot Freres

The Two Gentlemen of Verona – Watercolors by Pierre Brissaud, printed in collotype (key gray) by Georges Duval and hand-colored (not stated, Brissaud, perhaps?)

The Winter’s Tale – Drawings by Albert Rutherson, hand-colored by Jean Saude and printed in key-black by the Curwen Press

Note that this set is completely unsigned, so that bit of novelty is lost. However, a set of Shakespeare’s poetry followed the release of the plays. They were deliberately matched to the binding style of the rest, and this one is signed by Rogers. Hope this list aids you somehow or another!

Heritage Press: Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Thomas Gray (1951)

March 28, 2012 § 1 Comment

Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Thomas Gray (1951)
Sandglass Number VII:16
Artwork: Wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker
Introduced by Hugh Walpole
Reprint of LEC #106/9th Series V. 12 in 1938

Click images to see a larger view.

Front Binding – After a bit of a hiatus, your curator is back with some more posts.  Today’s is a real gem, a reprint of the 1938 LEC Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Sir Thomas Gray.  This would be the sole work represented of the poet by the George Macy Company or its successors, but it did launch the relationship between Macy and the incomparable Agnes Miller Parker, who does some of her finest work in this book.  I am a huge fan of Parker’s.  I bought the LEC Far from the Madding Crowdmainly because it included a print of hers.  For the design particulars, the Sandglass is surprisingly silent about that.  I don’t know who designed it, nor who bound it, nor who printed it.  So, I’ll just pass along what I can.  The binding here is taken from one of Miss Parker’s wood engravings, embossed and stamped in silver over blue buckram imported from England.  The font is Goudy Hand-tooled…and that’s about all I can say.  A little peculiar, this one!

Gray composed the poem for a treasured aunt of his, revising a prior work that he was unsatisfied with and finishing the memorial in 1749.  He spent much of that revision at his aunt’s grave at Stoke Poges, and Miss Parker spent her time sketching her wood engravings at that very same graveyard.  So this is a book that was completely inspired by Stoke Poges, you could say!  Having read this work, it’s a lovely poem accompanied by lovely art, bound lovingly.

If you’d like to know more about Miss Parker’s career with the Macy’s, I’ve touched upon that with the post on Far from the Madding Crowd.

Slipcase

Title Page – Hugh Walpole provides an introduction; his great-great-great-great uncle Horace Walpole (The Castle of Otranto) was a friend of Gray’s back in the 18th century.  It has a distinctive look with the blue crisscrossed lines, which it maintains throughout the text.

Stanza 1 – Parker has done some lovely work in here, and I’ll just let it speak for itself.  Amazing artist, that she was.

Stanza 2

Stanza 3

Personal Notes – I got this for $10 – 12 or so in Monterey at my favorite shop.  I haven’t seen the LEC, although I wouldn’t mind owning it, I must admit!  Definitely among my favorites in terms of design and artwork.

Sandglass

Heritage Press – The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (1964)

November 26, 2011 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (1964)

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (1964)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker
Introduced by Frank Swinnerton
Reprint of LEC #353, 32nd Series, V. 3 in 1964

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – Welcome to our third post on Thomas Hardy’s novels done up by the George Macy Company (The Return of the Native and Far from the Madding Crowd preceded this).  With my discussion on both Hardy and Agnes Miller Parker being well documented in those posts (and Parker elsewhere), we’ll just focus on the book.  I was not gifted a Sandglass with this book, but I do know who designed the later Jude the Obscure – John Dreyfus.  Odds are good that he designed this one as well based on A.G. Hoffman’s Native design from the ’40’s.

Slipcase

Title Page – Parker continues to wow with her work – I adore her woodcuts.  Anyway, Frank Swinnerton offers his thoughts for the introduction.

Page 3 – Parker did smaller chapter opener woodcuts on top of full-page ones.

Page 6 – Lovely stuff.

Page 42

Personal Notes – This copy was once mine, but it lacked a Sandglass and wasn’t in the greatest condition, so I sold it off.  Plan on reacquiring it in the future, though!

If you have a Sandglass or comparisons to the LEC original, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Limited Editions Club – Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1958)

September 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (1958)
LEC # 287, 26th Series, V. 8
Artwork: Wood Engravings by Agnes Miller Parker
Introduced by Robert Cantwell
#403 out of 1500

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – Thomas Hardy’s second LEC, issued in 1958 two years after Tess of the D’Urbervilles, continues the stylistic motif established by its predecessor.  Curiously, in 1942 the Heritage Press started off this series with The Return of the Native, but the LEC never reprinted it for their members.  Agnes Miller Parker was the illustrator for it, too, and the design is identical – repeating art from Parker over the boards in a vibrant color (in this case purple), so who really knows what happened.  At any rate, in 1956 the LEC began their four book series of Hardy – following Far from the Madding Crowd was The Mayor of Casterbridge in 1964 and Jude the Obscure in 1969.

Mrs. Parker was among the more productive women artists on George Macy’s commission list, with a solid seven assignments for the LEC and two Heritage Press books.  She began with the lovely Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard by Thomas Gray back in 1938 (I have the Heritage of this, so look forward to it!), began her Hardy run with the aforementioned Heritage Return of the Native, and then had a brief hiatus until 1953, where her artistic talents were called on, alongside John Austen, for The Faerie QueeneShe then completed the four remaining Hardy novels, a Heritage compilation of Shakespeare’s Tragedies in 1958/59, and a Poems of William Shakespeare in 1967.  Jude the Obscure would be her final contribution to the Company.  She is quite well known for her George Macy Company output, which is deserving, as she shone brightly among the many astounding artists who provided artistic assets to the LEC and Heritage Press.

The book was printed at the University Press at Cambridge, but that’s about all I can tell you about the design process of the book due to no LEC letter.  A.G. Hoffman did Return of the Native, and John Dreyfus designed the Heritage Jude the Obscure, so I can make an assumption that the latter performed the same task here due to the similar choice in design and the surge in Hardy’s novels being produced in this period, but I won’t proclaim that as fact until I hear from one of my LEC compatriots.

Spine – It’s leather, I can say that much!

Slipcase – The slipcase also has the Parker design from the boards on its sides, which is a nice touch.

Title Page – Robert Cantwell has written up the introduction, and Parker’s wood engraving of a stately manor sets the mood.  I haven’t read this book, but I’m curious as to how it goes thanks to Parker!

Signature Page – Parker’s signature is here (and it’s among the nicer ones!), and this copy is #403.  Studious viewers of this blog may recollect that number, and with good reason, as I’ve snagged several LEC’s from this member from my favorite bookshop.  Shame they seemed to make the letters vanish!

Signed Print of Page 5’s Woodblock – From what I can gather, every member was sent a Japanese paper print of Parker’s Page 5 woodblock, which Parker signed and dated.  Jude the Obscure would also be issued in the same manner.  The print sold me on the book – I love Parker’s work, and I’m trying to figure out some way of framing this that won’t damage it.

Page 17 – Dynamic rendering of a fairly static, ordinary exercise – that’s talent!

Page 37

Personal Notes – I bought this at my favorite book store in Monterey, California, for $80.  It’s currently the most expensive LEC I’ve purchased, but the print made it worth it to me, and it’s nice to finally have a signed Parker in my collection.

If you have a LEC Newsletter, please drop me a line here or through the comments at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  I could use extra insights into this book.  Thanks!

Heritage Press: The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (1953, Coronation Edition)

June 26, 2011 § 4 Comments

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser (1953)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Agnes Miller Parker, decorations by John Austen
Specifically published by the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, introduced by John Hayward
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #234/22nd Series, V. 2 in 1953

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – An artistic tour de force lies within these boards, as two of the greats in the history of the Limited Editions Club unite for this special Coronation edition of Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen.  Agnes Miller Parker, whose work has been featured on the blog twice before (for the Poetry of Shakespeare and Hardy’s Return of the Native…but there’s plenty more to come!), combines her wood-carving talents with the fine drawing abilities of John Austen.  Austen’s other works will be spotlighted soon on the blog, as I have come into possession of his very first commission for the Limited Editions Club, Vanity Fair, and he also applied his touch to Aristophanes’ The Frogs, among plenty of others. I think the two work well together, but you can judge for yourself momentarily.

Alas, this library copy is not in the greatest shape, so it’s got a few issues.  I do like the color choice of a creme board with aqua green adornments on top, with the pink spine giving it a little class.  However, this is a library copy, and Sandglasses are notoriously difficult to uncover within these well-read books, so I’m in the dark as to who put this beauty together.  Any help would be great!

Title Page – Parker gets the left side to herself to showcase her excellence, while Austen embellishes the actual title page with his decorations.  The work is introduced by John Hayward.

Introduction Page 1 – Austen did smaller pieces meant to decorate the text, while Parker offers full page woodcut prints.  Here’s two examples of Austen’s contributions.

Illustrations Contents

Page 18 – And here’s Parker’s.  Another follows.  Just incredible.

Page 146

Personal Notes – The list of my desired books continues to grow.  *sigh*  This was another I checked out through the library system.

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!

Heritage Press: Poems of William Shakespeare (unstated)

January 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

Poems of William Shakespeare (unstated, likely 1967)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Wood Engravings by Agnes Miller Parker
Edited and introduced by Peter Alexander
Part of the Heritage Press’ British Poet Master series (my designation)
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #398/35th Series V. 12 in 1967

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – The boards are adorned with a repeating motif by Agnes Miller Parker that symbolizes the art of writing pretty well.  Django2694 has some designer info and LEC comparisons:

OK, thanks to my LEC bibliography, I can supply the name of the designer of the A.M. Parker-illustrated Poems of Shakespeare–John Dreyfus, who would also have been responsible for the design of the Heritage edition. The LEC version was printed at the Cambridge University Press in 1967. It was in a single volume, like the Heritage volume. It was quarto-sized, with quarter red maroon cowhide binding, gold-stamped black spine label, henna cloth sides inlaid with a black leather embossed portrait of Shakespeare on the front cover.

Spine – Like the later Yates, the spine is styled in a way to make all of the British Poets look similar (and nice on a shelf next to each other!).  This is also a library copy, as the unfortunate marker writing demonstrates.

Title Page – Shakespeare’s entire collection of poetry is included in this set, including Venus and Adonis, The Rape of Lucerne, all of the Sonnets, A Lover’s Complaint, The Passionate Pilgrim and The Phoenix and Turtle, plus a Glossary.  Peter Alexander edited the book, as well as giving it its introduction.  A very nice engraving by Parker illuminates the page.  This was donated in memory of the Sam(p)sons, who also gave the Livingston library the Yates I have.

Page 45 – Parker’s illustrations adorn the poetry as headers or between the lines – there are no full page pieces in this book.

Page 185

Personal Notes – Like Yates, I got this at the Anthropology Club book sale for $1, alongside a Robert Browning book in the same series.  I’d like to upgrade to a complete copy, as I’m a big fan of Parker’s.

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