You're Not My Type - Redux

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You're Not My Type - Redux

Editado: Mar 26, 7:19 pm

Earlier this week DenimDan, a knowledgeable and discerning private press book collector, donned sackcloth and ashes, bewailing the inconsistent quality of present-day private presses (see link), eschewing many because of 'poor printing..... with inconsistent quality of inking and registration.' Methinks he may have painted with too broad a brushstroke because I believe greater emphasis should be placed on the individual edition rather than the specific private press. Stated differently, I have found beautiful presswork from private presses not known for this and, conversely, found poorly printed editions from renowned private presses who have already published acknowledged masterworks. (See post #407).

Nevertheless, I share DenimDan's passion for flawless printing and the issue and importance of beautiful printing and typography was a topic I visited four years ago in an LT FPF article entitled "You're Not My Type" (see link below). At the conclusion of my brief comments, I posted 1 or 2 photos of fifteen different private press books with beautiful letterpress printing and I challenged the LT Fine Press Forum to identify the books these photos were taken from. Many of these books represented the pinnacle of great twentieth century private press printing and typography, while others were obscure and less obvious. To my chagrin the LT FPF faithful solved my puzzle within 48 hours, leaving the dlphcoracl somewhat chastened, slinking away from his computer with tail between his legs.

Well............ No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I am revisiting this topic with another set of private press editions with beautiful printing and typography, with considerable variation in size (points), style and thickness of the type as well as the degree of impression ("bite") upon the handmade or mould-made paper. Each book will have 1 or 2 photos and you are once again challenged to identify the private press book the photos are taken from. Unlike the 2019 challenge, very few of these books are known to private press collectors as iconic masterpieces.

Ten different books and examples of typography are given below. Do you feel lucky??

Book #1 / Photo 1

Book #1 Photo 2

Book #2 Photo 1

Book #3 / Photo 1

Book #4 / Photo 1

Book #4 / Photo 2

Book #5 / Photo 1

Book #5 / Photo 2

Book #6 / Photo 1

Book #6 / Photo 2

Book #7 / Photo 1

Book #8 / Photo 1

Book #8/ Photo 2

Book #9 / Photo 1

Book #9 / Photo 2

Book #10 / Photo #1

Book #10 / Photo 2

Mar 26, 8:56 pm

>1 dlphcoracl: Is #4 the Golden Cockerel Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite?

Mar 26, 9:49 pm

I should probably at least attempt to guess one or two of them.
Is Book #2 North's Plutarch from Nonesuch?

I recognize Book #8 as Volsunga from my previous life as a medievalist. That typeface seems very familiar, but I'd just be guessing at the particular edition.

Mar 26, 10:05 pm

>2 Flaubie:

#4 is the GCP Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.

>3 DenimDan:

Book #8 is the Volsunga Saga, but that is the (relatively) easy part. Can you identify the specific edition with the beautiful letterpress printing?

Mar 26, 10:31 pm

>4 dlphcoracl: Off the top of my head, I can't remember any fine press treatments of Volsunga (apart from Wm. Morris), but I try to avoid medieval books now.

I'm certain #7 is Augustine's "Confessions." Is it Chiswick?

Too many medieval works bringing on flashbacks! Book #3 is Everyman. Someone find the edition for me. There are too many moral words up there!

Mar 27, 1:37 am

>5 DenimDan: I’m going with the 1911 Medici Society edition illustrated after drawings by John Amschewitz for #3 Everyman.

Editado: Mar 27, 7:20 am

>5 DenimDan: The Volsunga Saga is indeed the Wm. Morris/Eirikr Magnusson translation. #7 is St. Augustine's Confessions and it is printed by the Chiswick Press.

>5 DenimDan:
>6 kdweber: Book #3 is Everyman: A Morality Play published by Philip Lee Warner for the Medici Society.

Mar 27, 9:50 am

Alright, my last guess and then others can take up the charge:

Is Book #5 (Shelley's "Adonais") also by Chiswick? Regardless, it looks lovely.

Mar 27, 10:57 am

>8 DenimDan:

Book # 5 is P.B. Shelley's Adonais, also printed by the Chiswick Press.

Editado: Mar 27, 3:40 pm

book #10 is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations but not sure of the edition.

It’s not the LEC which is the only fine press edition of this book I own. It better not be the 1910 edition published by George Bell and Sons but printed by the Chiswick Press!

Mar 27, 4:04 pm

>10 kdweber: It could be the Medici Society edition

Mar 27, 4:20 pm

>10 kdweber: >11 ultrarightist: George Bell and Sons, 1902.

Editado: Mar 27, 4:58 pm

>10 kdweber:
>11 ultrarightist:
>12 BuzzBuzzard:

BuzzBuzzard is on the mark. This is the 1902 Large Paper edition of 'The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus' printed by the Chiswick Press for George Bell & Sons Ltd. publishers. George Bell Ltd. first printed this in 1873 and then published editions in 1890, 1892, 1897, 1902, 1904 and 1908. I am unaware of an edition printed in 1910. The earlier editions are unremarkable but the editions from 1897, 1902 and 1904 are printed on handmade paper. Most of these editions are small 12mo (7 x 5 inches) or 6 x 4 inches in size. The 1902 edition, however, is a deluxe issue with exceptional letterpress printing by the Chiswick Press on handmade paper in a larger (11 x 9 inches) format and it is greatly preferred, especially if you find it in a full morocco rebinding from one of the finer British binderies.

Mar 27, 5:22 pm

Books 1, 2, 6, and 9 still await identification. At the conclusion of this quiz, I will give full listing of all ten editions and tie all the loose ends together.

Stay tuned.

Mar 27, 6:08 pm

The text of Book 6 appears to be The Hollow Land, a collection of pieces by William Morris; and the theme of the identified books above and the typeface suggest The Chiswick Press. The first edition was 1903, but dlphcoracl being dlphcoracl this will be a smarter edition...

Editado: Mar 28, 4:00 pm

>15 affle:

G-O-O-A-A-A-L-L-L-L !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have not only correctly identified Book 6 as The Hollow Land and Collected Stories by Wm. Morris but, more importantly, you have identified the 'method to this madness', i.e., the underlying theme and thread linking all ten of these editions!!

Tomorrow, I will identify the remaining titles ( 1, 2 and 9) and talk about this in greater detail. A wonderful and inexpensive world of beautiful letterpress printing and typography await.

P.S. My copy of The Hollow Land is indeed the 1903 edition but with a very unusual twist. It is a unique one-of-a-kind copy - more to follow.

Editado: Mar 28, 1:22 pm

>15 affle:

Book #6: The Hollow Land and Other Contributions to the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine by William Morris, printed by the Chiswick Press for Longmans, Green & Co., 1903.

The text is printed in the Golden type designed by William Morris for the Kelmscott Press. This is a unique copy illuminated by Allan Francis Vigers for his nephew Guy Wolfe Gotto on the occasion of his 21st birthday. In addition to the half title page, the table of contents and verso page, the frontispiece, and the elaborate border of the first page, 20 smaller illuminations in borders or as tail-pieces (partially in silver or gold) are interspersed throughout the text pages, concluding with an illuminated final page with a small watercolour of sunset over a wheat field in the left-hand border and a colophon page with illumination surrounding the initials 'G.W.G.' (Guy Wolfe Gotto) in gold leaf amongst flowers, then signed 'AVF 1910' below.

Similar to Morris, Allan F. Vigers was an important designer of textiles, furniture and especially wallpaper for Jeffrey & Co. and Liberty. The choice of this work of literature was Viger's tribute to William Morris, reflecting his admiration for Wm. Morris' talent and skill as a fellow designer of textiles, wallpaper, furniture, architectural carving, stained glass windows, and murals in Morris' inimitable medieval Gothic style. The textiles and wallpapers designed by Morris and Vigers are still in use today by fine interior designers. The full morocco binding is from W.H. Smith & Sons, the same bindery used by the Ashendene Press for their folio-sized editions.

Photo #1

Photo #2

Photo #3

Photo #4

Photo #5

Photo #6

Photo #7

Photo #8

Photo #9

Photo #10

Photo #11

Photo #12

Mar 28, 2:11 pm

>17 dlphcoracl: Stunning!

Mar 28, 3:16 pm

>17 dlphcoracl: Amazing, thank you for sharing this.

Mar 28, 4:20 pm

>17 dlphcoracl: Wow! Now that is something very special, indeed.

Mar 28, 4:57 pm

>17 dlphcoracl: Wow. OMG. So are all the illuminations added? There was nothing printed before? No black and whites, just unique paintings?

Mar 28, 5:43 pm

>21 marceloanciano:


All of the multi-colour vignettes and the elaborate border surrounding page 1 were added by hand, without any preliminary letterpress black and white designs. Allen F. Vigers may have done a very faint preliminary pencil sketch before adding colour but this was all done in addition, i.e., after, the two-color letterpress printing by the Chiswick Press. Note that the large circular blue roundel with church steeple, the 4th illustration, is dated 1908 and the final illustration on the colophon page is dated 1910. Vigers worked on this for two years in addition to his work schedule for designing and creating textile and wallpaper patterns.

Editado: Mar 28, 9:23 pm

Answers to You're Not My Type quiz above:

Book #1: Fables. Robert Louis Stevenson, Longmans Green & Co., 1914.
Edition of 105 large paper copies with full vellum binding. 20 black & white drawings by E. R. Herman in the Aestheticism style reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley.

Book #2: De Officiis by Marcus Tullius Cicero, Arthur L. Humphreys, 1902. Printed on handmade unbleached Arnold paper.

Book #3: Everyman, A Morality Play edited by Frank Sidgwick, Philip Lee Warner for the Medici Society, 1911. One of 500 copies. Watercolor illustrations by John Amschewitz.

Book #4: Hymn to Aphrodite by Homer, Golden Cockerel Press, 1948. One of 100 deluxe copies with full morocco S&S binding from a total edition of 750 copies. Illlustrated with 13 wood engravings by Mark Severin. Printed by F. J. Newberry at the Chiswick Press on Arnold's mould-made paper.

Book #5: Adonais. An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by Percy Bysshe Shelley, Reed Pale Press, 1935. One of 20 copies in full blue morocco binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, 250 copies total.

Book #6: The Hollow and and Other Contributions, etc. See above #17.

Book #7: Confessions of St. Augustine by St. Augustine of Hippo, Kegan Paul/ Trench/ Trubner & Co., 1900. One of 400 copies printed by the Chiswick Press.

Book #8: Volsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs translated by Eirikr Magnusson & William Morris, Longmans Green & Co., 1901. One of 315 copies.

Book #9: Fleurs du Mal in Pattern and Prose by Charles Baudelaire, Sophistocles Press, 1929. Printed at the Chiswick Press for private circulation and sold only to subscribers. Illustrated with 16 plates by Beresford Egan, including frontispiece, in a manner strikingly similar to Aubrey Beardsley.

Book #10: The Thoughts of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus translated by George Long, George Bell and Sons, 1902. Deluxe large paper edition printed at the Chiswick Press, one of 225 copies.

Unlike the fifteen books featured in the original 'You're Not My Type' article posted in March 2019 (see link below), none of these would be considered landmark private press publications nor would these publishers normally be associated with The Arts of the Book. Did the dlphcoracl inhale too long and too deeply of the vapors emanating from the Earth's cleft and subsequently lose his mind and his judgment?

Well, not quite.

As affle astutely noted in >15 affle:, the common thread running through these ten private press books is that ALL of them were printed by the estimable Chiswick Press for a variety of publishers, several of whom were mainstay publishers issuing a wide range of books with regard to quality. It should be noted that the Philip Lee Warner/the Medici Society books, which feature uniformly excellent letterpress printing in their proprietary Ricciardi font, were all printed by the Chiswick Press under the direction of Charles T. Jacobi, the manager and a managing director of Charles Whittingham's Chiswick Press.

The Chiswick Press was founded in 1828 by Charles Whittingham and after his death in 1840 the younger Whittingham inherited the Chiswick Press. This marked a dramatic change and a new focus on superb letterpress printing over the next three decades. After Whittingham's death in 1876 the press was acquired by George Bell who retained the name of Charles Whittingham and Co. The focus on outstanding letterpress printing continued unabated, so much so that William Morris used the Chiswick Press in 1889 to print and publish his romance 'A Tale of the House of the Wolfings' and again for 'The Roots of the Mountains' prior to establishing his own Kelmscott Press in 1890.

What is the point of this exercise? Quite simple - by focusing and searching for books printed by the Chiswick Press, especially between 1890 to 1935, one can almost always count on a beautiful letterpress printed book (as seen in the examples above) without spending thousands of dollars for the iconic editions featured in the original March 2019 'You're Not My Type' article. Not only will many of these books sell for less than $500, some will have rebindings in full morocco from the finest British binderies without this always being reflected in the secondary market price. If you are lamenting the inconsistent typography and printing quality of the current crop of private presses and/or bemoaning that you cannot afford today's finest letterpress books, this article and exercise should prove helpful.


Mar 28, 9:39 pm

WHAT HE SAID!!!! I can't extoll the virtues of that period of the Chiswick Press loud enough or long enough.

Mar 29, 12:42 pm

>23 dlphcoracl: Oracle, thank you for the enlightening posts and those photos of Vigers' illuminated Morris text. Magnificent. I heartily agree with your take on the Chiswick Press, particularly with respect to the Golden Cockerel Press, for whom Chiswick printed and produced GCP titles for many years from late 1933 onward during the Christopher Sandford era. Sandford was a junior partner at Chiswick when he and Owen Rutter led a partnership that acquired GCP from Robert Gibbings.

Aside from one's feelings about the literary value or artwork of many GCP titles, Chiswick's presswork was nearly always first rate. GCP offers a very nice and affordable entry point for Fine Press collectors with various rabbit holes to explore from there. Whether it is the "specials" or deluxe bindings (typically done by Sangorski & Sutcliffe), specific artists like John Buckland Wright or Dorothea Braby, or particular genres like classical or nautical, one can pursue a variety of collecting interests without breaking the bank.

Ironically, the "Big Three" GCP titles that fetch the highest prices: "The Four Gospels", "The Canterbury Tales", and "Troilus and Criseyde", were all Gibbings/Eric Gill era productions not printed by Chiswick, but by GCP's pressworks at Waltham Saint Lawrence.

Mar 30, 6:58 pm

Just noticed that my copy of Lysistrata published by the Fanfrolico Press was printed by the Chiswick Press, on Batchelor’s handmade paper no less. I had a hunch, implied in my #10 comment, that the Chiswick Press was the theme.

Mar 30, 7:17 pm

>26 kdweber:

You were on the mark. And, as can be seen in the ten examples from very different private presses and publishers, there is a consistent quality to the letterpress printing from the Chiswick Press which will rarely disappoint.