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 – She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)

August 28, 2013 Comments Off on Heritage Press – She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)

She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith (1964)
Sandglass Number V:34
Artwork: Illustrations and Decorations by T.M. Cleland
Introduced by Louis Kronenberger
Reprint of LEC #358, 32nd Series, V. 8 in 1964

Click images for larger views.

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Front Bindng – It’s the return of Oliver Goldsmith! We last saw the multifaceted author for the Heritage exclusive The Vicar of Wakefield, and this will be the concluding post on his Macy career, as this classic play was the sole LEC offering of Goldsmith’s work (which got a Heritage edition as well, which is what we’re covering at present).

T.M. Cleland also makes another return to the blog, with this as his final commission before his death. He did double duty on this book, both rendering it with illustrations and decorations AND designing the overall look of it. Cleland’s career is delved into in my Monsieur Beaucaire post. It’s unfortunate that I generally dislike the artistic style chosen for this book, an apparent favorite of the LEC during the 60’s. The illustrations are little vignettes of the action being depicted in the text, but the execution of them rubs me the wrong way. I feel the same about Serge Ivanoff’s Tartuffe and the Would-Be Gentleman. There’s something about the overall look that doesn’t delight my imagination. My loss, I suppose.

Anyway, enough of my grumbles. Cleland worked with Bell as the primary font, which was then set by the Thistle Press. Connecticut Printers handled the printing on vellum-finish ivory paper from Monadnock Mill, and the bindery of choice was the old standby Russell-Rutter. Cleland’s art was printed in a unique way; each drawing in the text was done individually by color, so Cleland actually did 115 or so drawings to make up the nineteen illustrations in the book. He also did a splendid title page decoration (as he is aught to do), which is visible below.

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Slipcase

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Title Page – Cleland will always stand as one of the best title page designers in my book; this is yet another stellar example. See Monsieur Beaucaire for another. Louis Kronenberger steps in to introduce this work, which is his apparent third unification with Cleland; the two also collaborated (indirectly) on The History of Tom Jones and The Way of the World.

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

Personal Notes – I picked this up at a little shop in Jamestown, California. The name escapes me at present, but I’ve gotten a couple of good books from this place. I’ll have to write it down next time I visit and update this. I clearly have this work for the text.

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

Limited Editions Club – The Essays of Montaigne (1946)

January 16, 2012 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – The Essays of Montaigne (1946)

The Essays of Michel de Montaigne (Volume 1 and Handbook [LEC], Volume 2 [HP], 1946)
Sandglass Number: Unknown
Artwork: Decorations by T.M. Cleland
Introduction by Andre Gide, translated by George B. Ives, with additional notes by Grace Norton
LEC #176, 17th Series, V. 2 in 1946

Click images for larger views.  The LEC edition will be on top/left, the Heritage bottom/right (unless otherwise stated)

Front Binding – Michel de Montaigne is one of the legends of the literary essay, helping pioneer the concept of Skepticism and pretty much creating the definition of the essay as a major form of writing.  He has inspired numerous authors over the centuries, and his ideas continue to influence us today.  He was a Frenchman of noble blood, and was viewed more or less as a statesman who liked to write more than a serious author in his own time – his style, which included autobiographical anecdotes along with more philosophical inquires, was not en vogue in the mid to late 1500’s when he lived, and his work has a fairly modern feel to it that makes him easier to understand than some of his contemporaries.

In 1946 the Limited Editions Club decided to publish the Essays in a lovely four volume set, three containing Montaigne’s work and a fourth with notes on the work from the translator, George B. Ives, and additional comments from Grace Norton.  T.M. Cleland served as both designer and illustrator for the work, and he attached his signature to the LEC edition.  For those wishing to know more about him, I have detailed out Cleland’s career with the Macy’s here.  When the Heritage Press did their edition, they condensed the books down to three, splitting Volume 2 into two parts and keeping the notes as a separate work.  Regarding the LEC, I checked out two, the first and the Handbook, for the purpose of this blog.  All four have the same binding style.  I picked up the Heritage Montaigne Volume 2 for documentation on the cheap.

A curious thing I noted about the George Macy editions of the work is that they didn’t commission a new translation or introduction.  Andre Gide offers his thoughts on Montaigne, but this first appeared in 1939 by Longmans Green and Co.  Ives’ translation is from Harvard University Press, printed in 1925.  While this isn’t completely unusual, it’s a little odd that they didn’t recruit somebody to do either of those tasks.  The LEC edition was printed by The Aldus Printers.

Spines (LEC)

Title Page – Furthering my belief that Cleland was a master at title pages.  Lovely stuff.  I am under the impression Grace Norton’s contributions are unique to this edition, but I have no proof of that.

Drastically different lighting I had on these, I must say.

Signature Page – This is number 1122, and Cleland provides his nom de plume.

Page 3 (LEC) The chapter heads have pretty decorations at the head of each, and I’ve provided two examples of this for each edition.  There are no further illustrations.

Page 29 (LEC)

Page 817 (HP)

Page 1453 (HP)

Personal Notes – Picked up for a song at a library book sale, although part of that reason is that it’s a poor library copy.  The book itself is in good condition, but it’s full of writing and stamps. :(  I’ll be selling it off soon.  The LEC version was checked out from my university.

Limited Editions Club – Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)

September 24, 2011 Comments Off on Limited Editions Club – Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)

Monsieur Beaucaire by Booth Tarkington (1961)
LEC # 329, 30th Series, V. 2
Artwork: Illustrated and Decorated by T.M. Cleland
Preface by J. Donald Adams
#403 out of 1500

Click images for larger views.

Front Binding – A beautiful white/light brown cloth with a pretty clover pattern decorates Booth Tarkington’s one LEC selection, which is probably his best-regarded novel Monsieur Beaucaire. I’m not exactly sure how this was created. It looks embroidered, but I’m not 100% sure on that. I just put up the letter for this book, and I will peruse it when time allows and flesh this out a bit. While this was Tarkington’s only work published by the George Macy Company, he did contribute an introduction to the LEC Huck Finn, which is documented a few places on the internet, curiously enough.

The illustrator for Beaucaire is no stranger to the George Macy Company, however! T.M. Cleland (Thomas Maitland) was a busy man, beginning his career with Macy in the very first series of the LEC in 1930 with The Decameron, and continued until She Stoops to Conquer, done three years after Beaucaire. In total, Cleland rendered eight LEC’s with his artistic talents, and had a hand in designing others. His other major LEC productions include Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones and History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great, The Life and Times of Tristan Shandy, Gentleman by Lawrence Sterne, Montaigne’s Essays, and a lovely edition of William Cosgrave’s The Way of the World. He passed away in 1964, making She Stoops to Conquer among his final works. Cleland has a regal style that well suits this particular book. Out of what I’ve seen of his, I like Beaucaire the most, so I’m happy to have it.

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Slipcase – This comes with a two-part case, giving the book a very nice presentation.

Title Page – I think Cleland’s greatest strength was in his title pages. The ones I’ve seen are all just exquisite. He knew how to make such a page pop, that he most certainly did. J. Donald Adams provides an preface to the work. I know A. Colish in Mt. Vernon, New York performed publishing duties, and that Cleland was responsible for the book’s design as well as its art, but that’s the extent of my knowledge.

Signature Page – As is par the course for the majority of my Monterey LEC’s, this is #403. 8 of the 20 LEC’s I have are from this particular number.

Page 21 – I prefer Cleland’s work with backgrounds. She Stoops to Conquer lacks them, and I don’t think Cleland’s style is as effective without some setting behind them. This is quite a lovely rendering.

Page 39

Personal Notes – $35 netted me this lovely little gem, from my favorite Monterey area shop. I’m very happy with it. My wife helped me pick it out. :)

LEC Monthly Letter:

Updated 10/13/2012 – JF

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