Graphic Design Books from Oak Knoll Books
By Michael Stillman
The latest catalogue from Oak Knoll Books is a specialty within their specialty of book arts and books about books. Catalogue 280 is titled A Selection of Books Related to Graphic Design. They define "graphic design" as "book design, typography, layout, illustration, type design and much more." In conjunction with the catalogue, Oak Knoll also announced that they would have a section of their website devoted to this specialty as well. While they have always offered books in this field, they felt that these might be hard to find, so going forward, these books should be easier for collectors to locate. A few samples of what is in this latest catalogue now follow.
Here is a book that must be a classic example of graphic arts. It is also the perfect book for alphabet collectors. Item 202 is Edmund Fry's Pantographia; Containing Accurate Copies of All the Known Alphabets in the World... Fry spent 16 years collecting the world's alphabets before publishing this work in 1799. On left-hand pages he displays the alphabets, while on the right he provides explanatory information. Over 200 alphabet specimens are provided, from Abyssinian to New Zealand. This includes 20 Chaldean, 39 Greek, 8 Egyptian, 11 Hebrew, 7 Irish, 6 Malayan, 7 Persian, 7 Phoenician, 7 Samarian, 1 Tibetan, and 2 Welch. This copy includes the original 1798 prospectus bound in. Priced at $2,000.
Here is another voluminous collection of images, only instead of letters it's playing cards. The book is Les Cartes a Jouer du XIVe a XXe Siecle, by Henry-Rene D'Allemagne. For those who speak English, that's 14th to 20th century playing cards. Published in 1906, this book contains over 3,200 reproductions of playing cards, 956 in color. Also illustrated are 116 box covers for cards and 340 vignettes. Two thick volumes were required to squeeze all of this material in. Item 129. $2,000.
In keeping with the theme of quantity, how about a book that contains all of Howard Pyle's 3,300+ known illustrations? Pyle was a notable illustrator and art teacher from the turn of the last century. He is most noted for his many illustrations in children's books. Additionally, Pyle wrote several books, often focused around knights and Robin Hood. As a teacher, Pyle originated the "Brandywine School," and his students included many notable artists such as N.C. Wyeth. Item 453 is Howard Pyle: His Life -- His Work, by Paul Preston Davis. Published in 2004 as a cooperative release from Oak Knoll Press and The Delaware Art Museum, this exhaustive work also comes in two thick volumes. $425.
Here is a book with one hundred samples of graphic design especially pertaining to the book arts: One-Hundred Title Pages, 1500-1800, by A.F. (Alfred Forbes) Johnson. Published in 1928, this book reproduces the title pages from various classic books published in many European countries over three centuries. It provides an outstanding portrait of changing designs on the most important page of a book. Item 282. $150.