Video Series #5 – Notable Women Illustrators for the George Macy Company

For the fifth video for the George Macy Imagery Video Series, I share some books illustrated by women for Women’s History Month. Covered in this episode are The Ballad of Reading Gaol (Heritage) illustrated by Zhenya Gay, South Wind (LEC) illustrated by Carlotta Petrina, Jude the Obscure (LEC) illustrated by Agnes Miller Parker, and The Adventures of Hajji Baba in Ispahan (LEC) illustrated by Honore Guilbeau!

There’s a lot of books referred in this video, so here is a medley of links:

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde/Zhenya Gay
The Aeneid by Virgil/Carlotta Petrina
George Macy Imagery Video Series #1 – The Aeneid
South Wind by Norman Douglas/Carlotta Petrina (Conn.)
Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy/Agnes Miller Parker
Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard by Thomas Gray/Agnes Miller Parker
The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser/John Austen/Agnes Miller Parker
The Shaving of Shagpat by George Meredith/Honore Guilbeau

Video Series #1 – My Very First Book, The Aeneid

Welcome to the first video for the George Macy Imagery Video Series, a look back on my very first Heritage Press book I ever owned, The Aeneid by Virgil! I also share my LEC edition for a bit of contrast. This is a first attempt to try to create some video content, and while I’m fairly pleased I can definitely improve my filming and audio recording in future episodes.

For the original post on these books: https://georgemacyimagery.wordpress.c…

Thank you for watching!

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!

Limited Editons Club: The Aeneid by Virgil (1944)

The Aeneid by Virgil (1944)
LEC #163/15th Series V. 11
Sandglass Number 5H

Artwork: Illustrated by Carlotta Petrina
Translated and introduced by John Dryden
#890 of 1100

Click images to see larger views. LEC on the top, Heritage on the bottom.

Front Binding – Thanks to my UC Library, I can now properly compare Virgil’s Aeneid. This replaces the original post I made in 2011, but it’ll retain all of that information (and more, I hope). There is a stark difference in design on these two. The LEC goes for a much more refined approach, with lovely cloth boards with decadent wheat-like patterns and a cross-stitch. The teal-colored leather spine seals the deal. The Heritage, however, manages to outdo this fancy binding. Embossed with one of Carlotta Petrina’s illustrations, I was amazed when I first gazed upon this book.  This was the origin of my passion for these books, you see. It is the very first Heritage Press book I ever owned.  I’ll save further thoughts from my ownership of this book for later; let’s focus on the book itself.  Both were designed by Robert L. Dothard of the Hildreth Press, who also happened to design The Innocent Voyage I posted earlier.  I’ll let Django6924 explain the rest:

The text is set in a linotype face–14 point Old Style, on a laid, toned paper that the Sandglass mentions was difficult to acquire during the war rationing situation. The cover was unusual in that instead of the usual “blind-stamoing,” which impresses a design into the cover, this cover features one of Ms. Petrina’s designs embossed as a sort of bas-relief. This is one of those occasions where the design of the Heritage Press edition is far superior (as a design) to the rather staid LEC version.

The Connecticut Heritage is much more subdued than the New York. If I can remember I’ll snap a shot of its boards for comparative purposes before I sell it off.

Since I didn’t do it last time, let’s briefly touch upon author and artist. Virgil (or Publius Vergilius Maro) was one of Rome’s greatest poets, composing three known major works in his lifetime: The Aeneid, The Georgics, and The Eclogues. All three saw LEC releases. Georgics was done in 1952, and features the work of engraver Bruno Bramante and  printer Giovanni Mardersteig. The last, Eclogues, was published in 1960 with painter Marcel Vertes rendering it.

Carlotta Petrina doesn’t seem to have a heap of accessible info online, but I’ll dictate her career for the George Macy Company as best I can. She began in 1932 with South Wind, and if my memory serves, she actually chatted with author Norman Douglas before getting to work. Those are rather nice illustrations in the LEC, but the one I’ve covered on the blog so far lack the original crispness and clarity. In 1936 she won accolades for her interpretation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Regained. These were not reprinted as a Heritage edition, instead using William Blake’s paintings. She joined 38 other artists to help create the LEC Shakespeare, her part being Henry the Sixth Part II. The Aeneid was the final commission for the LEC, and to my knowledge she did not do any exclusives for the Heritage Press.

Title Page – No real different here beyond the publisher info. It proudly proclaims John Dryden’s translation and Virgil’s name in red.  Otherwise, a fairly humdrum title page.  What I found interesting is that the copyright page says that the Heritage version explicitly required the use of this book from the Limited Editions Club, which considering their relatedness, strikes me as a little odd now.

Signature Page – What I find most curious about this book is the limitation. Normally 1500 LEC editions were released in Macy’s time owning the Club, yet here it says they made 1100 copies. Perhaps wartime forced the Club to dial back a bit on this edition? I’ll ask my LEC compatriots and see if they know. Anyway, this is #890 and is signed by Petrina in red.

Book I Art – Petrina’s art headlines each book of the epic poem.  I find it fairly captivating stuff. The two are nigh identical, despite the photos suggesting that the LEC is lighter. I think the difference of sunlight is what’s making that happen. The quality in both is quite high, so your choice boils down to binding style preference and if Petrina’s signature means something to you.

Book V Art

Book VIII Art

Personal Notes – My very first book from the Heritage Press came from my local library in Mariposa, probably in 2007 or so.  I think they asked $10, which for the incredible artistry I felt was more than deserving.  I didn’t know about Sandglasses or much anything else about the Press back then, but considering I’ve (still) not seen the NY Heritage elsewhere, I think I made a smart choice.  I’ve yet to read it, though. As I mentioned with The Ring and the Book, epic poems don’t tend to be up my alley (Beowulf seems to be the exception so far), but I’m sure I’ll give it a go one day. The LEC came from my UC Library, and although I do like the art a lot, I’m not too sure I want that edition more than several others.

Happen to have a LEC Newsletter? I could use its information to further flesh out this post! Leave me a note in the comments or at my thread at Librarything. Thanks!

Heritage Press – South Wind by Norman Douglas (1968, Connecticut)

This is the first time I’m posting a Connecticut-era reprint of an earlier Heritage Press/Limited Editions Club book.  This one in particular will highlight the inferior quality some Connecticut Heritage Press titles received under presses outside of the George Macy Company, as South Wind’s illustrations suffer greatly here.  Not all of the books are this notably poor, but I will do my best when I can to provide one example between the Heritage Press’ two major eras.

South Wind by Norman Douglas (1968, Connecticut)
Sandglass Number: X-R : 43
Artwork – Drawings by Carlotta Petrina
Reprint of LEC #34/3rd Series V. 10 in 1932

Click the images for larger views.

Front Binding – If there’s one area the Connecticut book exceeds the New York Heritage, it’s here.  The New York edition is a darker shade of blue, with red text displaying the title in a nice font, but I do like the waves the Connecticut designer utilized here.  For the Connecticul edition, the Connecticut Printers did the printing, the Tapley-Rutter Company bound it, and the original LEC/Heritage design was by John Fass, who also was responsible for The Ballad of Reading Gaol.  The LEC is pretty distinctive, but my memory is drawing a blank on what its front actually looks like – I recall white boards with a brown box on the spine with the title and author alongside a nice symbol of some sort, but that’s about all I can recollect.


Title Page – The New York South Wind featured specialized pages for Carlotta Petrina’s illustrations, while the Connecticut redo forgoes that for low quality prints directly onto the page.  It’s a huge difference, and I’ll see if I can get a New York copy from the library to prove that to you.  Petrina has been on the blog before for The Aeneid, but South Wind was her first assignment for the George Macy Company.  Petrina actually met Norman Douglas and discussed her thoughts for the illustrations with him prior to putting them to paper.  The font here is Esteinne, designed by George W. Jones. This is the sole work of Douglas’ produced by the LEC. I go into Petrina’s brief but solid carer with George Macy in The Aeneid.

Page 1 – As you can see, Petrina’s art is fuzzy and pale, making her renditions of Douglas’ world difficult to enjoy.  The Heritage from New York is much sharper and printed at a higher quality comparable to the LEC.

Page 9

Personal Notes – I’ve seen the LEC once in Flagstaff, although its condition wasn’t ideal enough for me to take the plunge.  Every New York Heritage copy I’ve seen has been through tough times for some weird reason, and the vibrant blue that covers the boards is faded on the spine every time.  I sold off this edition in the hopes a truly good copy of South Wind lands in my lap sooner or later.