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)
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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)
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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)
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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!

Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

December 23, 2015 Comments Off on Heritage Press – The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)

The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor (1949)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduction by C.S. Forester; Translated by J.C. Mardrus (Arabic to French) and E. Powys Mathers (French to English)
Reprint of LEC #198, 19th Series, V. 2 in 1949.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Today’s book is The Seven Voyages of Sindbad the Sailor, a collection of the folktales of the titular protagonist. These tales hail from the Middle East, featuring the supernatural and the sensational. No single author is credited with these stories, but they have been around for a very long time, and it’s nice to see them in such a nice edition.

Edward A. Wilson, a frequent artistic contributor, stepped in to provide his touch to this book, and he’s a really good fit, I’d say. I like Wilson’s work in the more fantastical realm; it works well with his bold color palette and his gentle linework. His LEC/Heritage bibliography can be found here.

I can’t go into thorough design notes, as I have no Sandglass. Sorry!

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Title Page – C.S. Forester, author of the Horatio Hornblower series of novels, provides the introduction. Two translators reworked the text for this edition: J.C. Mardrus, who converted the original Arabic texts into French, and E. Powys Mathers, who took Mardrus’ French and worked it into modern English.

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

Personal Notes – This was checked out from my wife’s university library. First time I’ve seen it, and now I want it!

Heritage Press – Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1947)

May 23, 2014 § 3 Comments

Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1947)
Sandglass Number 7L
Artwork: Illustrations by Edward A. Wilson
Introduced by John T. Winterich
Reprint of LEC #182, 17th Series, V. 8, in 1947 in 2 volumes.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – We’re back with new reviews! Yay! And our first book is the exquisite rendering of British author Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho! for the Heritage Press. This is, as usual, a reprint of the LEC edition. Kingsley only saw this one book produced by the LEC, but the Easton Press would later issue The Water Babies under the Heritage Press label after they took over the brand. The Sandglass calls this a “masterwork of British propaganda…a symbol of British martial heroism”, and I suppose that’s a pretty accurate assessment. A nice little biography can be found in the Sandglass below.

Edward A. Wilson makes his second Macy appearance on the blog now, following his earlier Journey to the Center of the Earth. This is a better overall example of his work in my opinion, and stands as some of his finest illustrations I’ve come across. Perhaps, as the Sandglass notes, he is unmatched in his “creation of illustrations for a salty tale of the sea.” His full Macy bibliography is in the aforementioned post. For this book, the pen and brush were Wilson’s tools as he created over 40 full-color illustrations for Westward Ho!, and the Sandglass notes that the reprinting of these drawings were quite expensive! Photogravures of his original drawings were touched up and painted by Wilson via watercolor, and then lithographic processes brought the colors and lines together for the Heritage edition.

Design Notes – The binding is a lovely linen (“tough-binders’ linen” according to the Sandglass) of a “sea-green” tone, stamped with a Wilson design of a symbolic sailing of the sea done in a golden shade. The designer is notably absent here, when oftentimes leads to George Macy’s involvement in that role. However, Django6924 was kind enough to pass along some info from the Quarto-Millenary and the LEC letter:

The ML gives no indication of designer either, but in the Quarto-Millenary reference volume, the designer is designated as Eugene Clauss, about whom I found that he was a prominent lithographer at the J.C. Hall Company, Lithographers, Printers and Binders of Providence R.I. This and the LEC edition of The Scarlet Letter are apparently Mr. Clauss’ sole Macy efforts–and a fabulous one this one is!

The LEC was printed on a predominantly rag paper provided by the Worthy Paper Company and the binding was done by Russell-Rutter. (Same details about type used as the HP.) The illustrations were likewise produced in monochrome via photogravure, but the colors were hand-applied with stencils (pochoir process) and with watercolor paints–not printer’s inks.

Bodoni 175 is the font of choice. The bindery is also missing for the Heritage, but Russell-Rutter was the likely suspect.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Although the title page omits this information, Heritage Press introductory alum John T. Winterich supplies such a preface for this work. I like this title page a lot; Wilson’s colors are indeed a wonderful thing when he’s on fire.

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

Personal Notes – I originally acquired the Connecticut edition of this book from the Oakhurst Library as part of my 50-book haul back in 2012, but I came upon the New York printing in fairly good condition at a later sale from the same library for around $3, so I ditched my older edition for this one. I wouldn’t mind having the LEC of it!

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

Heritage Press: A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1966)

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.

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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!

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Slipcase

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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.

Of Interest: A Smattering of Non-Macy Books with LEC Illustrators #1

August 12, 2013 Comments Off on Of Interest: A Smattering of Non-Macy Books with LEC Illustrators #1

Hello all! Today I will be sharing five (!) books with you. These are non-Macy editions of several classic works, illustrated by some of the more prominent LEC illustrators. Three will be debuting today: Eric Gill, Boardman Robinson and Edward A. Wilson. The remaining two feature artists I’ve recently covered on the blog, Fritz Eichenberg and William Sharp. These are not my books; my good friend Lois was kind enough to let me borrow them to photograph them. Unfortunately, most of these are reprints of Random House or Doubleday editions, so I do not have designer info for them. With that in mind, I’ll be quickly summarizing their attributes, offering a brief opinion, and providing images for them. With that, let’s begin!

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg, translated by Constance Garnett, published by Garden City Publishing Co. in 1948 from the 1944 Doubleday edition.

Eichenberg does not utilize the engraver’s tools for this commission; instead, he goes with his linework, and it’s a good match. I do greatly prefer his wood and stone cuts, but I think his penmanship is also pretty spectacular. Compare this to Freedman’s LEC/Heritage take.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, illustrated by William Sharp, published by Garden City Publishing Co. in 1948 from the 1944 Doubleday edition.

Sharp takes on Collins’ famous novel with a combination of his styles used for the Macy editions of Tales of Mystery and Imagination and the biographical works of Rousseau and Pepys here. There are full page illustrations that remind me of the Poe commission, as well as many supplementary in-text drawings a la the biographies. There’s some astounding stuff in here, I must say. I haven’t seen Dignimont’s spin for the LEC, but I have covered his work for The Wanderer.

Favorite Poems of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, illustrated by Edward A. Wilson, introduced by Henry Seidel Canby, published by Doubleday in 1947

This may be some of Wilson’s best work I’ve personally seen. Of course, I’ve yet to share any of his Macy contributions with you, but I plan on remedying that when I get the time. Excellent printing, too! Wilson did too many LEC and Heritage books to list here, but I’ll include three that I own for reference; Treasure Island, Westward Ho! and A Journey to the Center of the Earth. The LEC edition was illustrated by Boyd Hanna.

Troilus and Cressida by Geoffrey Chaucer, illustrated by Eric Gill, translated by George Philip Krapp, printed by the Literary Guild in 1932 from the 1932 Random House edition.

Gill does a rather fine job here if you ask me. His woodcuts evoke the essence of the work of Chaucer quite well, and they embellish every page. There’s a few full-size pieces, too. I’d like to see the Random House issuing! Gill did the original LEC Hamlet and A Sentimental Journey of France and Italy. The LEC Troilus lacks conventional illustration, but is decorated by George W. Jones.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, illustrated by Boardman Robinson, translated by Constance Garnett, published by Halcyon House in 1940 from the 1933 Random House edition.

I must admit that Robinson does not do much for me. His style clashes with my personal tastes. I’ve seen his LEC commission for Spoon River Anthology (a tragic copy that was overpriced for its shoddy condition, despite author Edgar Lee Masters contributing his signature) and despite being a big fan of the work, his art doesn’t really mesh with me. He also did the LEC Moby Dick. Contrast this to the two Macy editions of Karamazov.

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!

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