Heritage Press: The Book of Ruth (1947)

June 26, 2011 § 2 Comments

The Book of Ruth (1947)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Arthur Szyk
Translation Prepared at Cambridge in 1611 for King James I, Introduced by Mary Ellen Chase
Heritage Press Reprint of LEC #184/17th Series, V. 11 in 1947

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – Yes, we’ve got a special book on our hands here.  Arthur Szyk’s linework is as impressive as his miniature paintings, and it’s a fine way to make this otherwise barren white cloth board shine.  I’ll need some help with the design info, due to this being a library book.

Title Page – Right off the bat the book stuns with its gorgeous artwork by Szyk I don’t know if these are miniatures or not, but it doesn’t matter.  They’re beautiful.  The Book of Ruth’s translation comes straight from the King James Bible, and Mary Ellen Chase provides the preface to the work.

Page 13 – Words really can’t express Szyk’s talent, so I’ll just let these marvels vouch for themselves.

Page 42

Personal Notes – Another book I want to add to my collection posthaste – this copy came via the library.

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: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1946)

May 12, 2011 § 10 Comments

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1946)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Arthur Szyk
Translated by Edward Fitzgerald
Heritage Press Exclusive, originally printed in 1940

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – In 1940 the Heritage Press put out a lovely exclusive – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, utilizing the talents of Arthur Szyk to illustrate the volume.  This edition had Szyk’s work mounted directly to the pages, which sounds lovely.  This is the later 1946 edition, which merely reprints the art onto the page.  Still, this is a lovely book.  The book was designed by Ernest Inghan at Fanfare Press in London, England, and looks very classy with Szyk’s linework printed in blue on the off-white boards.  An eye-catcher, this one.

Title Page –Szyk drew his work in color and gold, which Sun Engraving of London engraved.  Apparently they did the same in the 1940 original.  The text is Monotype Sachsenwald with Albertus Capitals, set by Mr. Ingham.  Szyk is stunning as par the course – he did The Canterbury Tales (1946), The Book of Job, The Book of Ruth, The Story of Joseph and his Brothers (in the 1948 Evergreen Tales), The and The Arabian Nights Entertainments for the LEC, along with this and Ink and Blood (a very rare collection of his own work) for the Heritage Press.  The translation is the wildly popular Edward Fitzgerald one that seemingly was everywhere in this era – I’ve seen a Random House edition that was rather nice using the same Fitzgerald translation, for example.

Page 2 – Stunning stuff.

Page 6

Personal Notes – One of my more recent acquisitions, received on my last day of volunteering at my current employmentIt did come with a gold slipcase, but it was very ratty and split nearly in two – I didn’t really think it was necessary to keep it in such poor condition.  Glad to have a Szyk book at last!

I’m lacking some crucial stuff on this one – a Sandglass and any info within (and its number), comparisons to the 1940 printing, and other insights would be ideal.  Please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

News: Arthur Szyk Feature at ABEBooks!

March 17, 2011 Comments Off on News: Arthur Szyk Feature at ABEBooks!

ABEBooks recently put up a feature on the great Arthur Szyk, which is full of fascinating facts about his life and his art.  The piece focuses on The Szyk Haggadah, his own stab at a Jewish rite that is practiced by all of the Jewish faith.  Done during World War II, Szyk drew parallels to the story’s plot to the real-world happenings of the time, even modeling one of the characters, the wicked son, after Hitler.  ABEBooks does mention some of Szyk’s contributions to the Macy Companies (without stating the publisher, but some recognition is better than none!) as well, including The Canterbury Tales.  Worth a look if you like his uniquely beautiful illustrations!

Thanks to Django2694 for pointing this out!  I’ll occasionally post up bits of news that tie into the George Macy Companies on top of doing their books, just to let you know.

Limited Editions Club: The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1946)

January 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1946)
Seventeenth Series, Book #185 (1st in this series)
Artwork: Miniatures by Arthur Szyk
Translated by Frank Ernest Hill, who revised his earlier translation for the LEC in 1934 for this edition.  Hill also provides an Introduction.
#1122 out of 1500.

Click images to see a larger view.

Note – This is a special post, as I get to compare the Limited Editions Club original to the Heritage Press reprint.  I’ve taken shots of both books on the same pages and topics, and will put the LEC shots on the top and the Heritage ones on the bottom to make it easy to look at both.  This will be a continuing feature that will continue to occur as I manage to procure the LEC and Heritage copies of books to document.

Also, I have been fortunate enough to be gifted a Limited Editions Club newsletter with my LEC copy, which I have scanned and provided below underneath the book’s images.  I may do this with my own books in the future, but considering how hard these things are to find, and I stumbled on one at a library, I felt compelled to share this particular one with you.  If it goes over well, I’ll definitely ponder putting up mine.  Enjoy!

Front Bindings

The two utilize the same idea – a looping illustration done by Arthur Szyk in miniature that features Chaucer in the middle of one pattern.  The LEC has a leather spine, while the design continues onto the Heritage edition, which you can see below.  George Macy was responsible for the LEC design, and I imagine he carried that title over to the Heritage edition as well.  Here’s the details of the book’s creation, straight from the Club themselves:

That simplifies things a little. :p


Title Page – The LEC edition went with a nice blue ink for its title page, while the Heritage ran with standard black.  Otherwise, they’re about the same.

Introduction – The LEC continues to spice up its pages with color – blue and red are used throughout the text, while the Heritage reprint sticks it out with their black.  The LEC also has the added bonus of “feeling” the text with your hands (and by that, I mean that the ink rises above the page slightly, and you can notice the difference brushing the page with your hand), which is just incredible.

Signature Page – Oh, how I wish you were mine.  Alas, it is UC Merced’s, and is #1122 of 1500.  Szyk has a very nice signature, I must say.

Title Illustration – Flip the title page and you’ll see this decadent piece that Szyk did of the entire cast of the Canterbury Tales.  The LEC original is much more vibrant with its colors and detail, which isn’t much of a surprise.  It’s a bit hard to tell in these shots, but the LEC artwork has a nice border around it that’s a light tannish color, and the text on the right or left of the portrait shares that attribute, as you’ll see below.

The Host

The Wife of Bath

Personal Notes – I…don’t own either of these books, so I can’t get too deep into their histories.  One came from the Mariposa Library (the Heritage), and luck gifted me the LEC at UC Merced’s library.  I wouldn’t mind owning this, I’ll say that much. :p

LEC Newsletter

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