Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2016 Issue

John Windle Antiquarian Books Opens William Blake Gallery In San Francisco

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The Virgin Hushing the Young John the Baptist, 1799.

Though in his own day William Blake (1757-1827) was little known and often ridiculed as "mad," he is today widely considered to be one of England’s most important creative figures. A self-styled mystic, visionary, religious rebel, free thinker, and person who thought himself to be in direct communication with God, Blake’s popularity continues to grow with the passage of time. Since his death his work has been discovered and rediscovered by succeeding generations who have admired his poetry, engravings, drawings and painting.

 

Blake is the subject of countless biographies, historical papers, publications and scholarly works. During his lifetime he created hundreds of artworks -- including engraved illustrations, illuminated books, original writings and watercolors. The lifelong Londoner remains one of the only important figures of the Romantic movement whose work is still occasionally available to collectors.

 

This month noted antiquarian bookseller John Windle opens a William Blake exhibition space in San Francisco dedicated to the the works of the celebrated British artist, poet and print maker. The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14 from 5-8 p.m., at 49 Geary St., Suite #205 (2nd floor).



The new 500 square-foot gallery devoted to Blake's art is the brainchild of John Windle, 71, a San Francisco rare book dealer who has long been an important Blake specialist. He believes it is the first physical space exclusively dedicated to Blake's work in over two hundred years. It will house hundreds of original Blake pieces alongside thousands of reproductions. Works by Blake will be exhibited on a rotating basis. Among the pieces included in the display for the October opening are:



  • Illustrations to Dante’s Inferno, Earliest known proof set, seven plates and oblong folio, printed on laid paper

  • The Complaint of Job, 1785, monochrome wash drawing

  • Songs of Innocence: “Holy Thursday”, 1789, Single sheet, printed in black, matted

  • Plates from the final lifetime printing of The Gates of Paradise

  • The Virgin Hushing, 1799, Tempera on paper



Prices run from over $1,000,000 for original work to under $100 for numerous reproductions. (See the captioned photos for a selection of images and asking prices.)



The new gallery is an addition to Windle’s long established bookshop at the same address. The location also includes an annex, across the hall, that houses the firm’s collection of Blake's original works, reproductions or facsimile editions, scholarly and reference works. “We're referring to it as the William Blake Library, although of course all books are for sale,” said Annika Green, a Windle staffer.



John has worked in the antiquarian book trade for most of his life,” Green continued, “and his passion and expertise in Blake has grown over the years. This venture was a matter of perfect timing. Blake seems to resonate more and more with people young and old, and he saw an opportunity to promote Blake in a time that might finally appreciate him.



I myself, coming from an arts background, find Blake endlessly fascinating and inspiring. I originally came to John Windle Antiquarian Bookseller to photograph stock for their online inventory. I was so fascinated by the book trade that I've stayed, and now I'm the photographer and the graphic designer for our catalogues and lists (both printed and online), as well as helping customers, packing and shipping, and other tasks around the shop. When John mentioned his dream of a gallery devoted to Blake's artwork, I was thrilled. I enjoy his poetry as well, but I find his imagery most haunting, and I'm excited to share it with as many people as possible.”



According to Windle's website, “We handle all the multifaceted work of William Blake – books, prints, paintings, and manuscripts – assisting collectors and libraries in building and augmenting their collections. We have the largest collection in the world of books by and about William Blake and his circle for sale, comprising approximately 500 items and currently including: a unique color-printed image from the Songs of Innocence printed and hand-colored by Blake; an original pencil study of Paolo and Francesca for the unfinished Dante Divine Comedy; a complete suite of the seven engravings for the Divine Comedy; Illustrations of the Book of Job in the original boards; Young's Night Thoughts entirely untrimmed; and an almost complete run of the Trianon Press Blake Trust facsimiles of the illuminated books.”



One unique service offered by the firm “is access to our database of full collations of books by William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and Thomas Frognall Dibdin. If you are wondering how many versions of Blake’s Book of Job were issued, or how many plates the large-paper edition of Dibdin’s Bibliographical Decameron should have, just contact us and we'll send you the full entry from our bibliographies. There is no charge for this service.”



In addition to his longtime specialty in Blake, Windle also offers a selection of rare books and manuscripts from medieval times through the twentieth century. The shop specializes in medieval illuminated and text manuscripts, illustrated books and fine bindings from the 15th through the 20th century, and children's books from 1750 to 1950. The company has served an international clientele of private collectors, libraries, and institutions for over 40 years.

 

 

To view a few selections from the Blake Gallery, click here now

 

 

Links to information about John Windle, his specialty in Blake, and other areas of expertise follow.



LINKS:

(Video) John Windle interviewed by Taylor Bowie in 2008. YouTube. This is a very informative biographical video that runs from his start as a lowly assistant at Quaritch’s in London to owner of his well known long running shop in San Francisco. www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2ri21eUvlQ



(Article) "Born (Again) in the USA," long interview in with John Windle by Sheila Markham in Bookdealer, Aug. 2010. Touches on his life in the book trade and expands on his own interest in things mystical. PDF format.

www.johnwindle.com/windle/images/pdfs/born-again-in-the-usa.pdf



(Home page) John Windle, Bookseller San Francisco. www.johnwindle.com/shop/windle/index.html



(Windle’s Blake Gallery) - (was not yet fully operational when this story was written).

www.johnwindle.com/shop/windle/WilliamBlakeGallery.html



(Current Blake inventory) Blake books and publications listed on line by Windle. 

www.johnwindle.com/shop/windle/results.html?is_utf=1&search=1&allwords=William%20Blake

 



(Catalog) PICTORIAL BLAKE  2011 illustrated catalog issued by Windle-80 page pdf, a spectacular set of black and white images along with detailed bibliography, also available in hard copy. www.johnwindle.com/windle/images/pdfs/Windle_Blake_FINAL.pdf



(Catalog Review) RBH’s Mike Stillman reviews Windle Catalog 64 featuring a number of Blake items from their forthcoming Blake gallery. www.rarebookhub.com/reviews/1854/print?page_id=3362



(Catalog Review) John Windle Catalog Review by Michael Stillman for June 2013. www.rarebookhub.com/reviews/1497?id=1497



(Catalog links) Current John Windle e-catalogs 2016 www.johnwindle.com/shop/windle/catalogs.html



Contact information

John Windle, Antiquarian Bookseller

49 Geary Street, Suite 233, San Francisco, CA 94108 USA

Tel: (415) 986-5826 Cell: (415) 244-8256

Contact email: annika@johnwindle.com or sales@johnwindle.com

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Published Half Plate Ambrotype of a North Carolina Confederate Officer. $2,000 to $4,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two 19th Century Books Pertaining to Canada's Red River Settlement. $400 to $800
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Two Books With Fore-Edge Paintings of British Architectual Landmarks. $400 to $600
    <b>Leland Little: Important Fall Auction. September 22, 2018</b>
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987), "Torte a la Dobosch" from <i>Wild Raspberries</i>. $1,000 to $3,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990), <i>Pop Shop II,</i> One Plate screenprint in colors, on wove paper, 1998. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Leland Little, Sep. 22:</b> Thomas Rowlandson (British, 1756-1827), Twenty-Two Prints from the <i>Tours of Dr. Syntax</i>. $500 to $1,000
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

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