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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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!
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!
March 28, 2012 § 2 Comments
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1939, Illustrated Bookshelf Edition)
No Sandglass, includes a “Monthly Magazine of the Junior Heritage Club”
Artwork: Illustrations by John Austen
No Introduction beyond a brief note on the author
Heritage Press Exclusive, printed as a standard Heritage title as well.
Click to see larger images.
Front Binding – Ah, our second Illustrated Bookshelf piece. The first was Twain’s Tom Sawyer, and finally I can share the first “complete” one I own (in fact, at present it is the only one!), Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield. Designed by John Fass, this book never saw a LEC edition, so Macy purists will have to settle for a Heritage edition. Some quick production details: W.A. Dwiggins’ Caledonia font is what renders the text, done at a 12-point size. Unfortunately, Macy fails to mention the publishing house who printed the work and the bindery who bound it (just my luck today it would seem, as Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard also left out that crucial information!).
John Austen was a very productive member of Macy’s artist pantheon, and there’s a nice essay on Austen by Austen in the Magazine you may want to peruse. He calls joining the Limited Editions Club “the happiest period of my life”, and you can see the results in every book he had a hand in, including this one. I’ve failed in my duties to elaborate on his career with my earlier posts spotlighting his work, Vanity Fair and The Faerie Queene, so I’ll do it now and save myself some grief. Austen began his work for the LEC with Vanity Fair in 1930, and following that he rendered for the LEC The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens in 1933, The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle by Tobias Smollett in 1935, The Frogs by Aristophanes in 1937, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane by Alain Rene Le Sage in 1938, The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett in 1941, and The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spenser in 1953, which was published after his death and also featured the woodcuts of Agnes Miller Parker. Several of these books were bound at Oxford University Press in similar slipcases, with dustjackets, in two volumes, and all had common design philosophies. As far as I know, all of the above save The Frogs were published in this way. Austen was also a player in the LEC Shakespeare, contributing his touch to The Comedy of Errors. He also did several exclusive Heritage books, including this particular work, Dickens’ David Copperfield, and R.K. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. He was a busy man, no question.
As for Oliver Goldsmith, he is known for producing an absolute classic in drama (She Stoops to Conquer), novel (The Vicar of Wakefield), and poetry (“The Deserted Village”). He was an Irishman, and was known to be a sweet yet envious man. This was his first work printed by the Company, with She Stoops to Conquer to follow in 1964. I have the Heritage She Stoops… for you to look forward to. :)
Slipcase – A little unusual for a Heritage slipcase to feature artwork and author/artist information, but apparently this was common for the Illustrated Bookshelf line.
Title Page – The paper used in this edition is interesting. It has tiny speckles throughout that give it a sort of “recycled” feel, although I doubt much of that was going on in 1939! Austen’s work is beautiful, as usual. He has pen drawings at the beginning of each chapter along with these “portrait” pieces scattered throughout the text.
Page 1 – Example of the pen drawings.
Personal Notes – I picked this up from my bookselling gig at a used book shop in my college town in Merced. I think I paid $10 for it. It has someone’s name written in pen in it, and it’s somewhat battered, but it was a complete book despite its flaws, and the Monthly Magazine seemed fascinating. I’ve photographed it in its entirety below for you.
August 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (1931)
LEC # 22, 24th Series, V. 5
Artwork: Illustrations by John Austen
Introduction by G.K. Chesterton
#91 out of 1500
Click images to see a larger view.
Front Bindings – This exclusive run of W.M. Thackeray’s most enduring classic Vanity Fair is pretty stunning to look at, with its gorgeous dust jackets (yes, you did read that right – I’ll explain why in a moment) and John Austen’s graceful illustration in the bottom right corner. Both volumes feature this. You can see the boards underneath in the next picture – the spine is a vibrant fuchsia color. Alas, I didn’t snag a Monthly Letter, so I’m not sure who designed the two volumes. I know that the University of Oxford printed it under the eyes of John Johnson, but beyond that I’m in the dark. Any assistance would be great!
Dust Jacket/Boards Comparison – The boards feature a different teal/pink coloring for the repeating flower motif, which the endpapers inside also have.
Slipcase – The case is like the dust jacket with the yellow/pink coloring. What you can’t see in this shot is the poor condition this slipcase is in – the bottom is completely separated, and the top is trying to do the same. Apparently this was a common thing, as all the copies on ABEBooks I looked at save one also had a broken slipcase or none at all. Shame.
Title Page – Why, hello, Becky. John Austen certainly had his own style, a look that’s take-it-or-leave-it for some. I think it depends on the book, and in this case, much like The Faerie Queene, Austen’s sketches of beautiful, glamorous people match up well with the story. G.K. Chesterton of the Father Brown mystery series and a master at using paradox, serves up an Introduction. As for the aforementioned dust jackets on the books, which is a bit of an oddity for LEC’s, from what I’ve learned the University of Oxford did them on all of their works printed for the LEC, thus why they’re there.
My particular copy, beyond the slipcase failings, seems to be a little poorly bound in Volume 2, or at the very least was well read, as the pages seem to be loose.
Signature Page – This is number 91 of 1500 – I think this is the earliest number I have!, and Austen’s curly signature in pencil lies below.
Page Preceding the Title Page – Austen has an unique style, that’s for sure. As I said, not for everyone, but i do think it works quite well with this book.
Personal Notes – There’s a funny story behind the acquiring of this book. When I was on vacation this past June, I went to a bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. The proprietor and I had a chat about this exact book – he was asking $85 or so, but the condition of it did not inspire that kind of money, nor did I even have that much to spend. He offered a 10% discount, but I still wasn’t able to match that, so I walked out. A little later, I returned to find my anthropology instructor chatting with the owner, and after letting him know where we’d be, stepped out. In between the time I last saw him and when I ran into him next, he had purchased this book for $55 and was looking for me to see if I was still interested in it. Somehow, $30 was shaved off the price – sometimes it does pay to have good contacts. I do feel a bit for the bookshop, though – it lost a good deal of money, if only he matched my offer of $67! My win, I suppose.
The Heritage Press later on in 1940 created their own edition of Vanity Fair, with Thackeray’s own illustrations. I’ll put pics of that up when I find one.
I’m looking for comparisons to the Heritage variant or any info on the designer of this book, so if you have that info, please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing! Thanks!
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.
Page 18 – And here’s Parker’s. Another follows. Just incredible.
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!