Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - June - 2012 Issue

Ashendene Press Works from Sophie Schneideman Rare Books

Schneidemanash2012

The Ashendene Press collection.

Sophie Schneideman Rare Books is offering a catalogue of The Ashendene Press Collection of Clarence B. Hanson, Jr. We will get to Ashendene in a moment. Clarence Hanson was a newspaperman, publisher of the Birmingham (Alabama) News. He was also a Vice President of the Associated Press and involved in numerous civic organizations. And, he was one more thing – a book collector. He collected primarily during the 1960s and 1970s, and his specialty was private presses. At one time he owned two Kelmscott Chaucers, probably the greatest and most valuable private press book ever published. Kelmscott, Doves, and Ashendene were his major collections.

The Ashendene Press was operated by Charles Harry St. John Hornby for the 40 years of its existence (1895-1935). Hornby began his printing career right at the end of William Morris and his Kelmscott Press' career. His lasted far longer. After an average start, Hornby's skills quickly progressed, and within a few years, he had earned the reputation that would put him very close to the top of private presses ever. He operated the press only with the help of family, and later a pressman. However, this is not terribly surprising, as he only published about a book a year (and various smaller items), and his press runs were often only double figures, sometimes low double figures, or maybe low triple digits. After 40 years, Hornby published a bibliography of his books, and bid his followers goodbye. However, over the years, the Ashendene books, collectible from the day they were printed, have only grown in value. Here are some of the items from Clarence Hanson's collection.

Where better to start than the beginning? Item 1 is the first book to come off of the Ashendene Press: The Journal of Joseph Hornby, February-March 1815. That common surname is explained by this being the journal of the printer's grandfather, who had the much easier to remember name of “Joe,” rather than “Charles Harry St. John.” Grandpa went traveling to Brussels and Paris just as Napoleon was plotting his escape from Elba. Unfortunately, the journal ends just before Bonaparte's return for one last tango in Paris, so we miss the excitement. This was certainly not Hornby's finest production. Hornby would later write, “The press-work of this book is of exceedingly poor quality...” Nevertheless, this was his first book, and as every book collector knows, nothing compares to a first. Published in 1895. £3,500 (British pounds, or approximately $5,483 U.S. Dollars).

Ashendene never had any long press runs, but this one was ridiculous. Who would go to the trouble of preparing an exceptional book and then print just 16 copies? St. John Hornby, evidently. Item 8 is Two Essays of Francis, Lord Bacon: Of Building and Gardens. This is copy number 15 of 16 of a book printed in 1897. This was his shortest run for a book (excluding minor pieces). Hornby later remarked that he could not say why so few copies were printed, he regretted not printing more, but at least the very short run made for “good sport for collectors.” £7,500 (US $11,750).

Ashendene was noted for beautiful books, but occasionally they would outdo even themselves. In 1902, Hornby published an edition of The Song of Songs which is Solomon's. Many of Ashendene's books were not illustrated, but this one was more than illustrated. It was illuminated. This book was illuminated by the master calligrapher Florence Kingsford. Each copy, and a total of 40 were printed, contains different illustrations. This one includes leopards, lions, peacocks, song birds, rabbits, chameleons, lizards, frogs, snakes, antelope, parrots, flowers and oranges. Each copy was bound by a woman binder, this one having been bound by Florence Paget, a student of Douglas Cockerell. Item 14. £45,000 (US $70,495).

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Extensive archive of papers of Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> George Catlin, <i>North American Indian Portfolio,</i> 1844. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> The Twenty-Four Books of the Holy Scriptures, Carefully Translated…after the Best Jewish Authorities, Philadelphia, 1853-54. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <center><b>Swann Auction Galleries<br>Printed & Manuscript Americana<br>September 29, 2022</b>
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Wedding book of Eleanor Roosevelt’s bodyguard, Earl Miller, signed by the Roosevelts, 1932. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Textile titled <i>The Resignation of Pres’t Washington,</i> Scotland, circa 1800. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Gideon Welles, Pass for President Lincoln’s White House funeral, 1865. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann September 29:</b> Confirmation of arms and nobility in favor of the Diez y Mora family, Madrid, 1710. $2,500 to $3,500.
  • <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> JOYCE, James. <i>Ulysses.</i> London: John Lane the Bodley Head, 1937. PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST ENGLISH EDITION PRINTED IN ENGLAND. $50,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [SHACKLETON, Ernest]. –– BROWNING, Robert. <i>Poetical Works of…</i> London: Smith and Elder, 1906. PRESENTED TO SHACKLETON AND THE OFFICERS OF THE NIMROD BY A MEMBER OF THE ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> AUDUBON, John James. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York: George R. Lockwood, [1870]. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> ARISTOTLE. Opera, in Greek, parts one and two only: Organon and Natural Philosophy I. Edited by Aldus and others. Venice: Aldus Manutius, 1 November 1495–February 1498. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> COOK, James, Capt. [Collected Voyages]. First and Second Voyages: London: W. Strahan; and T. Cadell, 1773, 1777; Third Voyage: London: H. Hughes for G. Nicol and T. Cadell, 1785. $14,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CLEMENS, Samuel Langhorne (“Mark Twain”). <i>The Writings of…</i> Hartford: American Publishing Co., 1899–1900. $12,000 to $16,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [KELMSCOTT PRESS]. SHAKESPEARE, William. <i>The Poems of…</i> Edited by Frederick S. Ellis. Hammersmith: William Morris for the Kelmscott Press, 1893. $12,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> LONDON, Jack. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> New York: The Macmillan Company, 1905. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY LONDON. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> CROWLEY, Aleister (1875–1947). <i>The Winged Beetle.</i> London: privately printed, 1910. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b><center>Potter & Potter Auctions<br>Fine Books & Manuscripts<br>October 20, 2022</b></center>
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> WILDE, Oscar (“C.3.3.”). <i>The Ballad of Reading Gaol.</i> London: Leonard Smithers, January 1898. $6,000 to $8,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> DRYDEN, John. <i>Fables Ancient and Modern; translated into verse from Homer, Ovid, Boccace, & Chaucer: with original poems.</i> London: John Tonson, 1700. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Potter & Potter, Oct. 20:</b> [MAP]. LINSCHOTEN, Jan Huygen van. <i>Delineatio Orarum Maritimarum…</i> London: John Wolfe, 1598. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b><center>Sotheby’s<br>Antiquarian Books<br>Including a series of views of Milan<br>September 27 to October 4</b></center>
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Livius, Historia Romanae decades, Venice, Vindelinus de Spira, 1470, contemporary Morocco. €30,000 to €40,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Blaeu, Nieuw Stedeboeck van Italien (Piemont), The Hague, 1724-1725, 8 volumes, marbled calf gilt. €70,000 to €90,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Baysio, Rosarium decretorum, Venice, 1481, later vellum. €10,000 to €15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> [Niccolò da Poggibonsi], Viaggio da Venetia al santo Sepulchro, Venice, 1529, later half calf. €2,000 to €3,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, Sep. 27 – Oct. 4:</b> Hieronymus, Epistole [Italian], Ferrara, 1497, blue crushed morocco with the Rocco di Torrepadula arms. €12,000 to €15,000.

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