Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2012 Issue

Ashendene Press Works from Sophie Schneideman Rare Books

Schneidemanash2012

The Ashendene Press collection.

Sophie Schneideman Rare Books is offering a catalogue of The Ashendene Press Collection of Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. We will get to Ashendene in a moment. Clarence Hanson was a newspaperman, publisher of the Birmingham (Alabama) News. He was also a Vice President of the Associated Press and involved in numerous civic organizations. And, he was one more thing – a book collector. He collected primarily during the 1960s and 1970s, and his specialty was private presses. At one time he owned two Kelmscott Chaucers, probably the greatest and most valuable private press book ever published. Kelmscott, Doves, and Ashendene were his major collections.

The Ashendene Press was operated by Charles Harry St. John Hornby for the 40 years of its existence (1895-1935). Hornby began his printing career right at the end of William Morris and his Kelmscott Press' career. His lasted far longer. After an average start, Hornby's skills quickly progressed, and within a few years, he had earned the reputation that would put him very close to the top of private presses ever. He operated the press only with the help of family, and later a pressman. However, this is not terribly surprising, as he only published about a book a year (and various smaller items), and his press runs were often only double figures, sometimes low double figures, or maybe low triple digits. After 40 years, Hornby published a bibliography of his books, and bid his followers goodbye. However, over the years, the Ashendene books, collectible from the day they were printed, have only grown in value. Here are some of the items from Clarence Hanson's collection.

Where better to start than the beginning? Item 1 is the first book to come off of the Ashendene Press: The Journal of Joseph Hornby, February-March 1815. That common surname is explained by this being the journal of the printer's grandfather, who had the much easier to remember name of “Joe,” rather than “Charles Harry St. John.” Grandpa went traveling to Brussels and Paris just as Napoleon was plotting his escape from Elba. Unfortunately, the journal ends just before Bonaparte's return for one last tango in Paris, so we miss the excitement. This was certainly not Hornby's finest production. Hornby would later write, “The press-work of this book is of exceedingly poor quality...” Nevertheless, this was his first book, and as every book collector knows, nothing compares to a first. Published in 1895. £3,500 (British pounds, or approximately $5,483 U.S. Dollars).

Ashendene never had any long press runs, but this one was ridiculous. Who would go to the trouble of preparing an exceptional book and then print just 16 copies? St. John Hornby, evidently. Item 8 is Two Essays of Francis, Lord Bacon: Of Building and Gardens. This is copy number 15 of 16 of a book printed in 1897. This was his shortest run for a book (excluding minor pieces). Hornby later remarked that he could not say why so few copies were printed, he regretted not printing more, but at least the very short run made for “good sport for collectors.” £7,500 (US $11,750).

Ashendene was noted for beautiful books, but occasionally they would outdo even themselves. In 1902, Hornby published an edition of The Song of Songs which is Solomon's. Many of Ashendene's books were not illustrated, but this one was more than illustrated. It was illuminated. This book was illuminated by the master calligrapher Florence Kingsford. Each copy, and a total of 40 were printed, contains different illustrations. This one includes leopards, lions, peacocks, song birds, rabbits, chameleons, lizards, frogs, snakes, antelope, parrots, flowers and oranges. Each copy was bound by a woman binder, this one having been bound by Florence Paget, a student of Douglas Cockerell. Item 14. £45,000 (US $70,495).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <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
  • <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>

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