Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2016 Issue

Kelmscott Bookshop Offers Artists' Books, Private Press, Art, Literature, First Editions & More

Books from the Kelmscott Bookshop.

The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books has issued their Catalogue 14: Artists' Books & Private Press, William Morris, Art, Literature, Presentation Copies, First Editions, & More. In other words, there is a wide variety of material offered. Through these items there is a common thread of artistic merit, appropriate for a bookshop named for William Morris' Kelmscott Press. Some are books that are simply works of art, for viewing more than reading. Others are more textual, but whose illustrations, bindings, and such make them works of art. In some, the text is the art, the art being in the words rather than the visuals, such as poetry, music, and literature. And then, some items aren't books at all, but drawings, photographs, caricatures, and fashion designs. There is a lot to be found here. These are a few samples.

 

We begin with a work from one of the great American writers of the 19th century. He was undoubtedly a literary genius, but few will call this one of his greatest works. Well, perhaps the great 19th century educator, Horace Mann, would disagree, in a sarcastic way. Nathaniel Hawthorne had achieved notable success in the two years prior to 1852, having published The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. This one was not meant to be any such achievement. It was a gift to an old friend, one that soon would be repaid. Item 85 is The Life of Franklin Pierce. Pierce and Hawthorne had gone to college together and remained good friends. In 1852, Pierce was running for President, and Hawthorne responded by writing a biography of him. It was, naturally enough, very favorable to Pierce. He described Pierce, a classic 'northern man with southern principles,' as "a man of peaceful pursuits." Horace Mann reportedly said, "If he makes out Pierce to be a great man or a brave man, it will be the greatest work of fiction he ever wrote." Mann was, of course, right about Pierce, one of the worst presidents in American history. Hawthorne deserves his own scarlet letter for writing this one. However, he instead received an appointment as consul to Liverpool, a very prestigious position at the time, where he remained until the end of Pierce's term in office in 1857. Priced at $250.

 

Here is one of those books that is not really meant to be read. Not that it couldn't be. The book is Charles Dickens' Bleak House. First published the same year Hawthorne was penning his paean to Franklin Pierce, it is way more highly regarded than Hawthorne's effort. Bleak House is the story of interminably long legal proceedings, the fictional case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, endless litigation concerning the terms of a will that affects all of the book's characters. However, this 2014 edition features more of the artistry of Stanley Strauss than of Dickens. The "book" consists of three items. The first is a 5 ½ inch thick, 736-page printing of the entire text of the book, bound only with binding straps. It is as large and unwieldy as the court case itself. The second piece is called "Jarndyce v Jarndyce," with each of the 58 characters names handwritten on scraps of torn paper, bound accordion style. The third item is titled "Last Will and Testament," and it consists of innumerable scraps of torn printed paper, conveying the futility of the litigation. They are sealed in a clear acrylic box. One can only wonder how Hawthorne would have reacted to this unusual treatment of his work. Item 2. $1,400.

 

Next comes the simply titled Poems, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, published in 1870. Rosetti was an artist and a poet, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelites, who would greatly influence William Morris and his circle. However, the story behind these poems seems better suited to a volume by Poe. Around 1850, Rossetti began painting the model Elizabeth Siddel, an ordinary but beautiful woman who in time would become an artist and poet herself. The two became enchanted, then deeply in love with each other. Rossetti painted her constantly. They became engaged, yet Rossetti managed to keep putting off the marriage, not being above affairs on the side. Siddel's health deteriorated, and she became increasingly addicted to laudenum, a painkiller containing morphine. However, they married anyway in 1860, though Siddel was quite ill. She died two years later, and a devastated Rossetti buried the only copy of some of his erotic poems with her body. He should have kept a second. Eight years later, now determined to publish these poems, Rossetti had her body exhumed and the poems removed. This copy was published in a very small run. The limitation notice says there were 25 copies printed on large paper for private circulation, but his brother's bibliography of Rossetti's works claims there were only 18. Item 52. $2,400.

 

Here is a book that makes 18 copies seem like a large print run. The title is Florentine Pages by Tatiana Shukhin. Shukhin was born in Russia and graduated from the Moscow University of Printing. However, she later picked up degrees in the U.S. and currently works from Maryland. This 2013 book is designed to take its readers on a trip through Florence by means of a journey through the pages of the book. The text is in narrow passages that lead to various sights in the city. Towers, cathedrals, fountains, and various buildings are seen in bright colors as one makes their way through the book's pages. Evening sights are illuminated in yellow by street lights. Each of the copies has a slightly different binding, all seven of them. Item 39 is number 7 of 7. $900.

 

This is sort of a specimen book for England's Incline Press. This private press was founded in 1993 and operates to this day. It comes with a title of Forty Sheets to the Wind. It consists of 40 sample broadsides and other sheets printed by the press which demonstrate their typefaces and printing skills. There were 150 sets published in 1999, this being the halfway point – number 75. Item 16. $300.

 

The Kelmscott Bookshop Rare Books may be reached at 410-235-6810 or info@kelmscottbookshop.com. Their website is www.kelmscottbookshop.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 546. Christoph Jacob Trew. Plantae selectae, 1750-1773.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 70. Thomas Murner. Die Narren beschwerung. 1558.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 621. Michael Bernhard Valentini. Museum Museorum, 1714.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 545. Sander Reichenbachia. Orchids illustrated and described, 1888-1894.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1018. Marinetti, Boccioni, Pratella Futurism - Comprehensive collection of 35 Futurist manifestos, some of them exceptionally rare. 1909-1933.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 634. August Johann Rösel von Rosenhof. 3 Original Drawings, around 1740.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 671. Jacob / Picasso. Chronique des Temps, 1956.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1260. Mary Webb. Sarn. 1948. Lucie Weill Art Deco Binding.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 508. Felix Bonfils. 108 large-format photographs of Syria and Palestine.
    Jeschke Jadi
    Auction 151
    Saturday, April 27, 2024
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 967. Dante Aligheri and Salvador Dali. Divina Commedia, 1963.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1316. Tolouse-Lautrec. Dessinateur. Duhayon binding, 1948.
    Jeschke Jádi, Apr. 27: Lot 1303. Regards sur Paris. Braque, Picasso, Masson, 1962.
  • Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: McCarthy (Cormac). Cities of the Plain, N.Y., 1998, First Edn., signed on hf. title; together with Uncorrected Proof and Uncorrected Advance Reading Copies, both signed by the Author. €800 to €1,000.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Stanihurst (Richard). De Rebus in Hibernia Gestis, Libri Quattuor, sm. 4to Antwerp (Christi. Plantium) 1584. First Edn. €525 to €750.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Fleischer (Nat.) Jack Dempsey The Idol of Fistiana, An Intimate Narrative, N.Y., 1929, First Edn. Signed on f.e.p. by Rocky Marciano. €400 to €600.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Smith - Classical Atlas, Lond., 1820. Bound with, Smiths New General Atlas .. Principal Empires, Kingdoms, & States throughout the World, Lond. 1822. €350 to €500.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Rare Auction Catalogues – 1856: Bindon Blood, of Ennis, Co. Clare: Sotheby & Wilkinson. €320 to €450.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Mavor (Wm.)] A General Collection of Voyages and Travels from the Discovery of America to the Commencement of the Nineteenth Century, 28 vols. (complete) Lond., 1810. €300 to €400.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Mc Carthy (Cormac). Outer Dark, N.Y. (Random House)1968, Signed by Mc Carthy. €250 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Three signed works by Ted Huges - Wodwo, 1967; Crow from the Life and Songs of the Crow, 1970; and Tales from Ovid, 1997. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: The Garden. An Illustrated Weekly Journal of Horticulture in all its Branches, 7 vols. lg. 4to Lond. 1877-1880. With 127 colored plates. €200 to €300.
    Fonsie Mealy’s
    Rare Book & Collectors Sale
    24th April 2024
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: Procter (Richard A.) Saturn and its System: Containing Discussions of The Motion (Real and Apparent)…, Lond. 1865. First Edn. €160 to €220.
    Fonsie Mealy, Apr. 24: [Ashe] St. George, Lord Bishop of Clogher, A Sermon Preached to the Protestants of Ireland, now in London,... Oct. 23, 1712, London 1712. Second Edn. €130 to €180.
  • Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Winston Churchill. The Second World War. Set of First-Edition Volumes. 6,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard. A Collection of The Pooh Books. Set of First-Editions. 18,600 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Salvador Dalí, Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Finely Bound and Signed Limited Edition. 15,000 USD
    Sotheby’s
    Modern First Editions
    Available for Immediate Purchase
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ian Fleming. Live and Let Die. First Edition. 9,500 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: J.K. Rowling. Harry Potter Series. Finely Bound First Printing Set of Complete Series. 5,650 USD
    Sotheby’s, Available Now: Ernest Hemingway. A Farewell to Arms. First Edition, First Printing. 4,200 USD
  • Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Piccolomini's De La Sfera del Mondo (The Sphere of the World), 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Vellutello's Commentary on Petrarch, With Map, 1525.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Finely Bound Definitive, Illustrated Edition of I Promessi Sposi, 1840.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Rare First Edition of John Milton's Latin Correspondence, 1674.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Giolito's Edition of Boccaccio's The Decamerone, with Bedford Binding, 1542.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of the First Biography of Marie of the Incarnation, with Rare Portrait, 1677.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Aldine Edition of Volume One of Cicero's Orationes, 1540.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Bonanni's Illustrated Costume Catalogue, with Complete Plates, 1711.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Important Incunable, the First Italian Edition of Josephus's De Bello Judaico, 1480.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: First Edition of Jacques Philippe d'Orville's Illustrated Book of the Ruins of Sicily, 1764.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: An Incunable from 1487, The Contemplative Life, with Early Manuscript.
    Leland Little, Apr. 26: Ignatius of Loyola's Exercitia Spiritualia, 1563.

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