By Michael Stillman
Available now is Catalogue 58 from The Veatchs Arts of the Book, Recent Acquisitions in Penmanship, Leaf Books, Wood Engraving, Bookbinding, and Fine Printing... Offered are 114 items of printing art, some antiquarian, some as a recent as this year. The Veatchs specialize in books that are known more for their artistic qualities than their text, though the text may well be a classic work of written art as well. Here are a few of the items offered in this latest catalogue.
We start with a poster, Leonard Baskin's Custer Battlefield Montana. This 28 x 37 poster was printed for the National Park Service in black and red in 1968. General George Armstrong Custer is shown waist up in uniform. The Veatchs note it is a "Near fine copy of this scarce survival." Perhaps, but not as scarce as survivors from Custer's troops. Item 8. Priced at $200.
Here is an unusual poster: "Freedom of the Press Belongs to Those Who Can Defend It." It displays a pair of crossed pistols, engraved by John DePol. Beneath is text and a bullet hole. Point made. One of 120 copies, printed in 1994. Item 87. $75.
Item 21 is a dramatic 1982 production of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The illustrations for this edition were created by Joseph Mugnaini. This is one of 2,000 copies, signed by both Bradbury and Mugnaini. $250.
Item 101 is an eight-volume set of Froissarts Cronycles, published in 1927 by the Shakespeare Head Press, one of the most notable British private presses from the years between the wars. It includes six hand-colored maps and over 600 hand-colored coats-of-arms. This is number 158 of 350 sets designed by Bernard Newdigate. $3,000.
Item 22 is Emblemata, The Emblem Books of Andrea Alciato. A Leaf book. Alciato was a legal scholar, but also published his famous Emblemata, a collection of short poems accompanied by woodcut illustrations, or emblems. Alciato's emblem book was first published in 1531, but this work about him by Alvan Bregman is as new as they come, published in 2007. It includes three leaves from the 1589 edition of Emblemata. It is one of eight copies in a deluxe binding containing three leaves (there is a second version with three leaves in eight copies, while a single-leaf edition was produced in 124 copies. $1,500.