Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - April - 2015 Issue

The Black Art from the Veatchs Arts of the Book

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The Black Art.

The Veatchs Arts of the Book has issued their 81st catalogue, this one titled The Black Art (And Some Color). That parenthetical aside is helpful. Otherwise we might interpret that title more ominously. It has to do with printing, and much of what we see here is printed in black or with other individual colors, rather than the mix that creates what we normally think of as four-color printing. Perhaps you may think black and white not quite so artistic, but tell that to people such as Ansel Adams. Black and white can be as stunning as any colors, provided it has come from the hands of an artist. These books have, for they represent the arts of the book. Here are a few samples.

 

The natural place to start a review is with the letters that start all books. Item 42 is Decorative Initial Letters, by Alfred Johnson. It was published by Cresset Press in 1931, but is one of 500 copies printed at the Curwen Press. It depicts initial letters from books printed from the 15th through the 20th centuries. A page of descriptive text faces the images of the letters. Priced at $285.

 

Next up is an item that employed an unusual and difficult printing process, the result being that it was essentially only used during a brief period in the mid-19th century. Item 5 is Die Entdeckung Des Naturselbstdruckes Oder Die Erfindungen... by Alois Auer, published in Vienna in 1854. Auer used what is known as nature printing, where an object, frequently plant material, is used to directly create images on a plate, from which those images are printed. Auer wasn't the first to print directly from an object, but developed a technique using plates that was superior to previous attempts. This book contains 40 nature printed images, including flowering plants, a fossil fish skeleton, a snake skin, bat wing, leaves, a fern, mosses, algae, wood grain, and minerals. The Veatchs have translated the complete, descriptive title as “The Discovery of the Natural Printing-Process, an Invention for creating by means of the Original itself—in a swift and simple manner—plates for printing copies...containing the most delicate profundities or elevations as not to be detected by the human eye.” Auer would end up in disputes with others who further developed the nature printing process, notably Englishman Henry Bradbury, who failed to give him credit. Bradbury, who did some excellent nature printing of ferns, became so depressed from the dispute he killed himself, effectively taking the nature printing process with him. $4,900.

 

Item 60 is The Estiennes, a Biographical Essay...Illustrated with Original Leaves from Books printed by the Three Greatest members of that Distinguished Family by Mark Pattison. It was published by the Book Club of California in 1949. The Estiennes were a family of printers and booksellers active mostly in the 16th century. While some siblings and a fourth generation continued their work, the primary three members were founder Henri, son Robert, and grandson, also Henri. Leaves from each of the three generations' books are included. This is one of 390 copies printed at the Grabhorn Press. $250.

 

Speaking of the Grabhorn Press, here is one of their works, published in 1930: The Subtyl Historyes and Fables of Esope. Translated out of the Frensshe into Englysshe by William Caxton. Mr. Caxton spelled things differently than we do today. This is copy number 22 of 25 special copies (there were 175 regular copies). It contains hand-drawn initials and illumination not present in the regular, fully printed copies. Item 29. $2,200.

 

Here is one more connection to the legendary Grabhorn Press. In 1965, the Grabhorn Press closed when older brother Edward Grabhorn retired. Younger brother Robert went into partnership with the much younger Andrew Hoyem to form the Grabhorn-Hoyem Press. Much of the Grabhorn type and equipment was brought to the new enterprise. Robert Grabhorn died in 1973, and Hoyem renamed the firm Arion Press. Item 30 is A Commonplace Book of Cookery. It was compiled from Robert Grabhorn's personal collection of books about food and drink. This was the second book from the Arion Press, published in 1975. $325.

 

Next we turn to other presses, the physical ones. Item 15 is a collection of 10 wood engravings of hand printing presses, broadsides created from 1982-1992. The artist is the noted second half of the 20th century wood engraver John DePol. They were printed in limited runs of 40 to 150 copies. Item 15. $325.

 

The Veatchs Arts of the Book can be reached at 413-584-1867 or veatchs@veatchs.com. Their website is www.veatchs.com.

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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