The Veatchs Arts of the Book has issued Catalogue 76. Summer Arrivals. Fine Printing, Bindings & Other Book Arts. All books are visual, but for some, that simply means they make use of the eyes to transmit textual messages. For these, the primary messages are nonverbal. These are books as art, books that undoubtedly carry a written message, at times the text of great writings, but that is not why these editions are of note. It is their beauty, their essence as works of art more than works of text, that make them desirable. They speak to us in ways other than that of the ordinary book. These are a few of the books-as-art the Veatchs are offering for the summer.
For those who appreciate fine wood engravings, there was no greater master of the art than Thomas Bewick. Bewick cut his teeth, or more precisely, cut his blocks, in the late 18th century, and into the first couple of decades of the 19th century. He provided woodcut illustrations for the books of several authors, along with a few of his own. Among his most notable was A History of British Birds and A General History of Quadrupeds. These required a substantial amount of time in the countryside observing the animals he would later put to art. While Bewick died in 1828, fortunately, and amazingly, many of his woodblocks still survive. That has allowed later printings to be made, printings which focus on the engravings themselves rather than the particular subject. Item 11 is Thomas Bewick Portfolio: Containing twenty-four impressions printed directly from the original wood blocks engraved by the English master, Thomas Bewick at Newcastle-on-Tyne. This later printing of Bewick's blocks was published by the Cherryburn Press in 1945 and prepared by R. Hunter Middleton, who has signed one of the illustrations. Among the 24 images are quadrupeds, birds, and vignettes. Priced at $475.
Next we have an alphabet most fowl featuring the work of a contemporary wood engraver and illustrator, Alan James Robinson. Item 24 is A Fowl Alphabet, created at Robinson's Cheloniidae Press in 1986. Along with 26 wood engravings from Robinson the book features the lettering of Suzanne Moore. Robinson has used birds to represent the alphabet, including their common and scientific names. Offered is one of the 50 copies of the deluxe edition, which includes a separate suite of Robinson's signed engravings. $1,200.
Item 76 comes with the odd title Remembering the Moon. It was written by the leading newsman of his era, Walter Cronkite, and published in 1989 by Thornwillow Press. It is unlikely anyone has forgotten about the moon, but this was released to celebrate a particular event – the 20th anniversary of mankind's first landing on the moon. This is one of 250 copies printed and is signed by publisher Luke Pontifell. It is a fine work. $500.
A year earlier, Thornwillow Press remembered the man who was most responsible for enabling this wondrous event to happen: J.F.K. Remembered. It was John F. Kennedy who pledged in the early 1960s that America would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, and his countrymen did not let him down. This book was written by the noted historian Arthur Schlesinger, who served as a Special Assistant to the President during the Kennedy administration. A total of 425 copies were printed. Item 77. $500.