Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - January - 2007 Issue

Graphic Design Books from Oak Knoll Books

Carden

D'Allemagne's playing cards; Bosse's engravings.


Item 434 was written by a King, quite literally. Manuel II was King of Portugal, the last of the Braganza dynasty that lasted almost three centuries. He ascended to the throne under the worst of circumstances. With revolution already in the air, young Manuel returned from a trip with his father, King Charles I, and his elder brother, the King's heir. Two gunmen emerged from the crowd, killing both the King and his heir. At the age of 18, and the government in serious difficulties, Manuel II became king. He dismissed many government officials, but the changes were unable to stem the onrushing tide. The dynasty was overthrown in 1910, and Manuel was forced to flee to British held Gibralter. He then moved on to England, where he lived the remainder of his life, which ended when he was just 43 in 1932. So, what does an ex-monarch do with all of that free time? Collect books, naturally. Manuel created an outstanding collection of Portuguese books printed between 1489 and 1600. He also undertook to write about his collection. His work, published from 1929-1935, is called Early Portuguese Books (Livros Antigos Portuguezes). The King wrote the first two volumes, but, a result of his early death, the third and final volume had to be completed by his librarian, Margery Withers. This set was published in an edition limited to 650 copies, and it is a testament to the graphic arts as well as a useful bibliography. $950.

Item 59 is Traicte des Manieres de Graver en Taille Douce sur l'Airan, by Abraham Bosse. Oak Knoll describes this as "the first engraving and etching manual." Bosse was a popular book illustrator of the 17th century, with some 1,400 engravings attributed to him. This book was published in 1645. $6,500.

Oak Knoll Books may be found online at www.oakknoll.com. Their telephone number is 302-328-7232.

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