Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2012 Issue

The Private Presses of Hammersmith from Sophie Schneideman Rare Books

Schneidemanhammersmith

The Private Presses of Hammersmith.

Sophie Schneideman Rare Books has issued a catalogue of the Private Presses in Hammersmith, 1891-1914. Sophie Schneideman has participated in the book trade for two decades, including several years at Maggs Bros. prior to opening her firm. Ms. Schneideman's specialty is the “art of the book,” and one would be hard pressed to come up with any better examples of fine presses than the two from Hammersmith featured here – William Morris' Kelmscott Press, and Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Press. Morris virtually created the modern fine press, and his friend and associate Cobden-Sanderson, continued the art, with his own interpretation, after Morris' death.

William Morris was a multi-talented individual, artist, writer, and idealistic proponent of socialism. Late in life, he turned to one of his earliest loves – books. He set up his fine printing press in 1891, and lived but another five years. However, the output of his Kelmscott Press was surprisingly prodigious, and it remains legendary. The press continued to be operated by his associates after his death in 1896, but only to complete projects started or envisioned by Morris and wind down operations. It closed in 1898.

One of those who was friendly with Morris, a fellow socialist, and occasionally worked with him was Thomas J. Cobden-Sanderson. One such associated item is offered within this catalogue. Cobden-Sanderson opened the Doves Press in partnership with Emery Walker, yet another socialistic associate of Morris, and began publishing in 1900. While featuring fine printings as did Kelmscott, he was more focused on the artistry serving the text, rather than simply beauty. Cobden-Sanderson and Walker would design the elegant Doves type, which would be used in all of their books. The partnership dissolved in 1909, but Cobden-Sanderson and Doves continued to publish until 1916. However, a few years earlier, Cobden-Sanderson began preparing for the Press' closure in a most unusual way. He looked at the Doves works in a perfectionist sort of way, considering them at “one with the purpose of the Universe.” He could not bear the thought of his type being used in any lesser way. So, in spite of an agreement that the type would go to Walker on his death, Cobden-Sanderson began a slow late-night process of dumping the type, its punches and matrices, off the Hammersmith Bridge, into the Thames. It was the only way he could guarantee the Doves type would never be used in an inappropriate way.

There is one more name to mention in relation to this catalogue – Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. Hanson, who died in 1983, was for 35 years the publisher of The Birmingham News. That's Birmingham as in Alabama, not England. Hanson had many interests, but one of his greatest passions was collecting private press books. He did most of his collecting in the 1960s and 1970s, and the books offered in this catalogue come from his Kelmscott and Doves collections. A later catalogue will feature his Ashendene collection. Now, we will take a look at a few items from this catalogue.

Item 1 was just the second book to come off the Kelmscott Press. Poems by the Way is a collection of Morris' own poetry. Some went back many decades, although it was filled out with a poem written in the year the book was published – 1891. For many of the poems, this was their first appearance in print. Priced at £2,000 (British pounds, or roughly US $3,046).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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 Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> 1869 Inauguration Bible of President Ulysses S. Grant. SOLD for $118,750
  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN C. FREMONT, Narrative of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, in the Year 1842.. Abridged edition, the only one containing the folding map From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $3,000-5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ZANE GREY, Album containing 94 large format photographs of Grey and party at Catalina Island, Arizona, and fishing in the Pacific. From the Sporting Library of Arnold “Jake” Johnson. $5,000-$8,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> WILLIAM COMBE, A History of Madeira ... illustrative of the Costumes, Manners, and Occupations of the Inhabitants. produced by Ackermann in 1821; From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> ERIC TAVERNER, Salmon Fishing... One of 275 copies signed by Taverner, published in 1931,From the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN WHITEHEAD, Exploration of Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo. Whitehead reached the high point of Kinabalu in 1888. Part of a major group of travel books from the Sporting Library of Jake Johnson. $2,000-$3,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> JOHN LONG, Voyages and Travels of an Indian Interpreter and Trader, describing the Manners and Customs of the North American Indians... The first edition of 1791. $3,000-$5,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> SAMUEL BECKETT, Stirrings Still. This, Beckett’s last work of fiction with original lithographs by Le Brocquy, limited to 200 copies signed by the author and the artist. From the Estate of Howard Kaminsky.. $1,500-$2,500

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