Trivia: The 10 Most Frequent Artists in the LEC

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!, Treasure Island, The Tempest (pictured), 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 – Gargantua and Pentagruel by Francois Rabelais (1942)

Gargantua and Pentagruel by Francois Rabelais (1942)
Sandglass Number 10M
Artwork: Illustrations by Lynd Ward
Translation and Introduction by Jacques LeClercq
Heritage Press Exclusive; the LEC printed their own LEC, #82, in the 7th Series, V. 12, in 1936 with a five-volume set featuring the talents of W.A. Dwiggins.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Our weekend of Ward marches on with this delightful Heritage exclusive edition of Francois Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, an early French comedic romp filled with fantasy and humor. Despite being printed in the middle of World War II (of which I could compile a post of mishaps and tragedies that beset the George Macy Company’s efforts…perhaps next year?), Macy managed to produce this lovely 800 page volume packed to the gills with 100 drawings from Mr. Ward, a mammoth undertaking for both press and artist! Rabelais, a monk and practitioner of medicine in his time, is best known for this work, and it’s a defining classic of French literature. This work was also issued as a LEC earlier in 1936, starring W.A. Dwiggins in a five volume set.

Ward, as mentioned yesterday, has his bibliography here. And I won’t mince any further words about him here, as I’ve probably gushed plenty about his talents elsewhere on the blog; just know that he did 100 line drawings interspersed in Rabelais’ text.

Design Notes – The designer is not mentioned; we do know that LeClercq’s translation comes from the LEC, so it’s possible that Macy borrowed the textual design of that work for this reissuing (W.A. Dwiggins designed the LEC). However, Electra was Dwiggins’ font of choice; here, Scotch is used. So I’m not sure who exactly to credit on this one.

The text was composed by Quinn and Boden and put to the page by Ferris Printing Company. The binding is a little strange — the Sandglass observes that a blue stamped design was intended for the book’s tan linen, but as you can see, that didn’t happen with my book (only on the spine). Perhaps World War II once again undermined Macy’s intentions? And that’s as deep as the Sandglass goes into production notes here.

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Spine/Slipcase

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Title Page – LeClercq serves as an Introductory voice to the text as well as its translator.

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

 

Personal History – This was my first purchase of a Heritage/LEC title after I moved! Huzzah! Purchased at the Bookstore in Chico. Eager to read!

Sandglass

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Updated 2/25/2018 – JF

Heritage Press – Rights of Man by Thomas Paine (1961)

Rights of Man by Thomas Paine (1961)
Sandglass Number I:26
Artwork: Illustrations by Lynd Ward
Introduction by Howard Fast
Reprint of LEC #321, 29th Series, V. 6 in 1961.

Click images for larger views.

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Front Binding – Salutations! Welcome back to our first post in the George Macy Imagery’s special Christmas book posting extravaganza! I apologize for the light updating this year, but I hope that having one post per day for over a week will even things out a little bit.

Anyway, our first post in this series is Rights of Man, done by the early American (ex-Brit) Thomas Paine in the heydays of the American Revolution and subsequent Constitutional Congress. Written originally as a rebuttal to the work of Edward Burke, Rights of Man continues to stand as one of the more extraordinary political documents in American history, crystallizing and championing the concepts of democracy and social welfare. However, this particular text was written in England post-Revolution, and was not, shall we say, considered a popular work in the eyes of the British government. Paine escaped capture courtesy of another name familiar to readers of this blog: William Blake. Blake warned Paine prior to the execution of Paine’s arrest attempt, and Paine slipped across the seas to France. A grand history of Paine’s exploits can be found in the Sandglass (which I will add later on). This was Paine’s first and only LEC/Heritage offering, but it’s a really nice one — perhaps one of my favorites of Helen Macy’s tenure of the Club.

The illustrator of our edition is not new to this blog; it’s one of the Company’s most frequent contributors, the impeccable Lynd Ward (We’ll see him tomorrow, too). Ward’s LEC bibliography is here. Ward is shuffled to the end of the Sandglass — curious choice, that, but he has certainly had his fair share of text in these letters prior to Rights of Man, so I don’t imagine it to be a slight. He went with drawings for this particular book, which retain his compelling style (unlike some artists who shift from their prominent medium to another, like Eichenberg for instance). The Heritage relied on red and black inks to convey his intent; I’ll let you know if the LEC printings were more dynamic.

Design Notes – Roderick Stinehour handled the design of this book — he also handled the designs for The Song of Roland. The text comes from the 1894 collection of Paine’s work compiled by Moncure D. Conway, and was printed in a dynamic Bulmer font in 14 point on an 18 point base. Typo Upright serves as the chapter/section/running headings font. Mead Paper Company supplied specially-made gray paper for this edition. George C. Miller & Son tackled the reprinting of Ward’s illustrations, while Reehl Printing Company took on the text. Russell-Rutter bound the text, and the cloth is a full linen emblazoned with, as the Sandglass puts it, “the red flames of revolution”.

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Spine/Slipcase

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Title Page – Author Howard Fast supplies an introduction, and Ward serves up a lovely portrait of Paine.

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

Personal History – I am not 100% sure where I found this book. I think I got it from a Mariposa Library sale, but I do not recall. I’ve had it for quite some time now, and when you have a collection that has been in flux as much as mine, it’s difficult to remember every origin for every book.

I do look forward to reading it, though.

Sandglass forthcoming.

Limited Editions Club: Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1952)

Idylls of the King by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1952)
LEC #230/21st Series V. 10 in 1953
Artwork: Lithographs in color by Lynd Ward
Introduced by Henry Van Dyke
LEC #42 of 1500. LEC exclusive. A Heritage exclusive version of this work, featuring Robert Ball’s illustrations, was issued in 1939.

Click images to see larger views.

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Front Binding – Our latest LEC is the lovely 1952 offering Idylls of the King, by the lauded poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson. However, this was not the first time Macy published this loving epic to the heroics of King Arthur and the Round Table; in 1939, the Heritage Press issued their own edition starring the artistic talents of Robert Ball. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a slight tangent, as Ball is a bit of curiosity in the Macy canon. He was called upon to do more Heritage exclusives (Idylls, The Compleat Angler and Bleak House) than he was for LECs (Waverly), which is unusual. But let’s return to the book in question (I can go into Ball’s career more when I get a book featuring him). The LEC Idylls was the first Tennyson outing for the Club; Cardevon Press would issue his Poems in 1974 with Reynolds Stone providing the art. And that is that for Tennyson; three books isn’t shabby, but perhaps a little skimpy for one of Britain’s more famous poetic figures.

Someone who was not a stranger to the LEC (and is not at all skimpy in their output!) is the talented Lynd Ward, whose work has been frequently covered here on the blog already. It has been some time, though; Les Miserables was the last post starring Mr. Ward, and that was in 2012! That post just so happens to cover his bibliography with the two presses as well. Ward is easily one of my favorite illustrators, and this book furthers my commitment that he was among the finest artists of the 20th century, if not in human history (alongside Fritz Eichenberg). For this book, as with The Innocent Voyage, Ward utilized color lithographs, and the process is once again astounding in its execution. Six months of work generated forty eight lithographs, with each color representing its own unique plate per illustration. Since most of these lithographs are at least five colors, that is a herculean two hundred and forty individual plates Ward created, and then he magically put together correctly to form the beautiful illustrations in this book. If one plate was out of order, then the entire illustration was botched! It’s almost unbelievable to fathom the dedication and care Ward utilized for these complex art pieces.

With the author and illustrator covered, let’s focus in on this lovely book’s production details. Carl Purlington Rollins came out of retirement to design this volume for the LEC, and the letter has a fairly rich biography of his career on Page 4. His touch can be seen earlier here for the Heritage Walden and the Heritage Crime and Punishment. Yale University’s printing office handled the printing of the text on a special Curtis paper specifically made for the LEC called Colophon Text. The font is indirectly stated to be of the Baskerville family, with the text initials coming from the Goudy family. Russell Rutter was the bindery. Ward’s lively lithographs were printed by the Duenewald Printing Corporation. Red buckram is the primary cloth for the boards, with a sheepskin leather for the spine. The vermilion spine features excellent renderings of Arthur and Guinevere on each side done by Ward and stamped in with gold leaf, which also is featured in the classy spine text.

Macy notes that this is the “magni opi” of Tennyson and Lynd Ward; I’ll let you be the judge. I’m not too sure Macy’s far off in his assessment!

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Back Binding

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Henry Van Dyke was called upon to introduce the book. The Heritage version, meanwhile, lacks any formal introduction (thanks to Django6924 for checking his copy for me). Anyway, isn’t this a lovely title page? This may be one of my all-time favorites of the Macy canon.

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Colophon – Ward signed the work, and you can see that this is #42. I think this is the “youngest” book I have in terms of rank.

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

Personal Notes –
This too was a bit of a calculated risk, like Fathers and Sons. I ordered it off of ABEBooks for the low price of $20 (plus shipping), and all and all I’m very happy with it. There is a former owner’s inscription in it, but beyond that it was on par with all of my other LECs, and I’m thankful I took the chance on it! It’s nice to have a second signed Ward in my collection, and it’s a doozy, too!

LEC Monthly Letter (right click and open in new tab for full size):

Heritage Press – Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1938)

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1938, two volumes)
Sandglass Number III & IV: 25
Artwork: Illustrations by Lynd Ward
Translated by Lascelles Wraxall, Introduced by Andre Maurois
Reprint of LEC #108, 10th Series, V. 2 in 1938 in five volumes.

Click images for a larger view.

Front Bindings – Les Miserables is arguably Victor Hugo’s most enduring work. In his native France he was celebrated for his dramas and poetry on top of his literature output, even considered France’s grandest poet! However, outside of France his novels are what he is remembered for. Along with The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Les Miserables made Hugo an international literary icon. George Macy seemed to think highly of Hugo, as these two seminal works were printed rather early on in the LEC timeline. Hunchback was actually printed twice before Macy’s passing in 1956, both times as Notre-Dame de Paris. The first was in 1930, the first book in the second series, with Frans Masereel doing the artistic honors. This book is sort of infamous in the Macy canon, as Bill Majure explains:

Originally issued European style, bound in paper wraps. But when many subscribers complained about the paper bindings, the publisher rebound most copies in hardcover.

The second was less notorious when it was released in 1955, and Bernard Lamotte did the artistic honors. Les Miserables was a five volume LEC in 1938, and I’ll be sharing the two volume Heritage reprint with you shortly. After Macy’s death, Helen Macy commissioned The Toilers of the Sea in 1960, with Tranquillo Marangoni doing the artwork. Cardevon would revisit Les Miserables in 1977, plucking The Battle of Waterloo from its pages for a standalone title with Edouard Detaille’s art. Not many people had two major works done twice in the LEC, so Hugo is a bit special in that regard.

Les Miserables was rendered artistically by Lynd Ward, one of the more productive contributors to the Limited Editions Club and the Heritage Press. His LEC output is as follows:

Reade, Charles, The Cloister and the Hearth, 1932.
Hugo, Victor, Les Miserables, 1938.
Dumas, Alexandre, The Count of Monte Cristo, 1941.
Hemingway, Ernest, For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1942.
Erasmus, Desiderius, In Praise of Folly, 1943.
Hughes, Richard, The Innocent Voyage, 1944.
Beowulf, 1952.
Tennyson, Alfred Lord, Idylls of the King, 1952.
Conrad, Joseph, Lord Jim, 1959.
Paine, Thomas, Rights of Man, 1961.
Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Master of Ballantrae, 1965.
Jefferson, Thomas, Writings of, 1967.
Burke, Edmund, On Conciliation with America and Other Papers on the American Revolution, 1975.

He also did Gargantua and Pantagruel (1942) and Dickens’ Our Mutual Friend (1957) for the Heritage Press. For this particular book, he did over 500 individual illustrations! Most of them are rather small, but I’ve included some of the larger ones to marvel over. The book was designed by Peter Beilenson (Django6924 confirms Beilenson also handled the LEC. He was the designer/owner of the Peter Pauper Press, for those curious about such things. Thanks Robert!). Granjon is the font of choice here. There’s a good chunk of the third page in the Sandglass devoted to the history of Garamond, a related font to the one chosen. Duenewald Printing Corporation handled the printing duties, putting their ink upon specially made paper supplied by Crocker-Burbank. Arnold Bank was responsible for the binding design of the spines (or backstrip, as the Sandglass refers to them). Russell-Rutter was the bindery.

My edition of the work has seen some sun strip away the first volume’s red blaze, rendering it into more of a dull pink. The blue on Volume 2 is still strong, though. You’ll see the sad state of my Volume 1 below.

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Slipcase – Both books are in black slipcases.

Title Page – Lascelles Wraxall (not the most common name) did the honors of translation, which his friend Hugo readily ratified. Andre Maurois, well-known biographer of the time (probably best known for Disraeli), supplies a new introduction.

Fantine – Ward’s smaller sketches are nice and all, but these book dividers are among his finest work. It’s easy to see why he was commissioned so often.

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Personal Notes – This was part of my early haul from the Oakhurst Library in 2008 or so. I paid $2 per book! Ah, I love that library. Half if not more of my collection has come from there, and I’ve gotten some insane deals. :)

Sandglass: