"May blessings be upon the head of Cadmus, the Phoenicians, or whoever it was that invented books." -Thomas Carlyle
Welcome to my virtual book collection. Since collecting actual books is somewhat cost-prohibitive, I've begun to amass all of the books I would love to have if I had the means. Some are new, lots are old, all are unique or beautiful or unusual or in some other way have captured my fancy. Enjoy browsing!
Special Collections: Fine Bindings ~ Fairies and Fairy Tales ~ Terror and Madness ~ Poetry ~ Food, Drink and Apothecary ~ Science Fiction ~ Illuminations, Lettering and Hand-Coloring ~ Magic ~ Supernatural and Occult ~ Alchemy ~ Science and Technical ~ Maritime ~ Costumes ~ Humor ~ Children's books ~ Legend of King Arthur ~ Americana ~ 18th Century ~ 19th Century Authors and illustrators: Edgar Allan Poe ~ Jules Verne ~ Edmund Dulac ~ Kay Nielsen ~ Arthur Rackham ~ Edward Gorey ~ Charles Dickens ~ H.P. Lovecraft ~ William Hope Hodgson ~ Mark Twain ~ Lewis Carroll ~ Salvador Dali ~ George Cruikshank ~ Emily Dickinson ~ Geoffrey Chaucer ~ H.G. Wells
The Frankeleyns Tale
Geoffrey Chaucer. Pittsburgh: Bentley Press, 1931.
Attractive printing of the Canterbury tale, “set up and printed on a hand press by Harvey Wilder Bentley (con amore!),” as per the colophon. This was a limited edition of only 234 copies produced by Bentley, who more often published under the Archetype Press imprint.
A Yale graduate, Wilder then worked at Porter Garnett’s Laboratory Press at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, from 1930 to 1933, and it is clear that both his Yale experience and that gained at the Laboratory Press squarely fixed him in the American fine printing movement of the 1920s and 30s. In this work he was also clearly inspired by William Morris’s neo-medievalism and the English private press revivalist aesthetic of the 1890s, as well as by a personal drive towards small-scale, handcrafted “character and distinction” (as the prospectus here puts it).
Diricatur Domine Oratio Mea - Illuminated Manuscript
Turner, Marie, illuminator. Early 20th century (?)
9 leaves, hand-calligraphed and illuminated with colors and gold on rectos. 17.5x12 cm., marbled wrappers, cloth folding case. Charming collection of Latin prayers, written out and decorated by Marie Turner, signed by her on blank leaf at rear. Each leaf with a large initial letter decorated with vines and leaves. Three of the leaves feature dragons within the decoration. The first initial contains a portrait of the Madonna and child. A very attractive manuscript.
The Origin and Progress of Writing, as well Hieroglyphic as Elementary
Thomas Astle. London, J. White, 1803.
Errata slip tipped it at rear. “It is a wide-ranging piece of scholarship, with excellent plates of facsimiles of scripts, engraved by B.T. Pouncy; universal in its scope, it includes a history of printing as well as accounts of the materials used for writing, numerals and the characters for numerals, and secret writing and ciphers..” (DNB).
Illuminated Manuscript: the Lord’s Prayer, the Ave Maria, and the Gloria Patri
G. Righi, Italy, early 20th Century
Period red velvet brocade, brass cornerpieces and bosses. An elaborate modern illuminated manuscript in the Sangorski manner. The Lord’s Prayer has an historiated initial (100 x 100 mm) showing God in Heaven with angels below, and broad foliate borders in gilt, pink, blue, and green, with vignettes of the Lamb and storks. The Ave Maria has a miniature (45 x 85 mm) of the Annunciation, and broad detailed borders with various floral motifs, the Lamb, birds, and a chalice flanked by angels.
The Ship that Sailed to Mars
William Timlin, London, ca. 1921
Reblogged from Monster Brains - lots of illustrations on display in that blog entry. The illustrations are incredible:
As is the typography:
The Ideal Book, Essays and Lectures on the Arts of the Book
William Morris. Edited by William S. Peterson. University of California Press, 1982.
Maud, a Monodrama
Alfred Lord Tennyson. Kelmscott Press, 1893.
One of 500 copies, this the first issue without the cancel ff., printed in red and black, Golden type, wood-engraved decorative title, borders and initials designed by William Morris.
The Hours of Jeanne d’Évreux, ca. 1324–1328
Jean Pucelle (French, active in Paris, ca. 1320–34)
Made in Paris
Grisaille and tempera on vellum
Early Printed Leaves - Book of Hours
Includes: a pair leaves on vellum from a Book of Hours by Simon Vostre , rubricated in red and blue with initials supplied in gold; 2 leaves from Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle, Latin and German editions, the latter showing popes and others in full contemporary colour; a leaf from an edition of Horace, with woodcut [before 1500]; 2 further incunable leaves; others sixteenth century, including editions of Münster’s Cosmographia and a full-page hand-coloured woodcut from Agricola’s De re Metallica.
A practical treatise on the art of illuminating : with examples, chromographed in fac-simile and in outline, of the styles prevailing at different periods, from the sixth century to the present time ()
Francis Bacon. Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum by Alberto Sangorski, 1905.
11 leaves, two additional fly-leaves at the beginning and end, text in black ink in a semi-cursive calligraphic hand, title in blue, the first page within a full ornamental border with miniature below, three further miniatures in the text, several other illuminated initials, some with extensions, the decoration in various shades of blue, green, violet, pink, in stylised floral and foliate designs heightened with gold, modern green morocco richly gilt by Sangorski &Sutcliffe, covers in floral, roseate and foliate all-over design in gilt with central roses heightened in red, upper cover lettered in gilt, spine in six compartments, preserved in full green morocco folding box, spine lettered and decorated in gilt
Selected Poems by William Wordsworth.
Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum signed by Alberto Sangorski, 1915.
15 leaves interleaved with watered silk, two additional fly-leaves at the beginning and end, text in black ink in a fine upright semi-gothic hand, titles in red, the first within a full ornamental border, the second below half-page miniature within gold and ornamental frame, 3 smaller miniatures incorporated into three-quarter page borders, numerous other full and partial borders and finely illuminated initials, many with extensions; the decoration in blue, various shades of purple, green , brown and violet, all in stylized floral and foliate design and lavishly heightened with gold, original dark blue morocco by Riviere &Son, covers with elaborate gilt and interlace inlaid strapwork border enclosing gilt-dotted ground and incorporating “WW” monogram, central oval panel, spine in six compartments with repeated inlaid floral designs on dotted ground and gilt lettering, turn-ins with interlocking green leaf design against a densely gilt-dotted ground, red silk endpapers, all edges gilt, preserved in dark green velvet-lined folding box with brass clasps.
Bifolium from a monumental choirbook made for King Philip V of Spain and Queen Marie Luisa of Savoy, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Spain, Early 18th century (1701-14)]
A bifolium, each leaf 700mm. by 480mm., with a vast initial ‘C’, 210mm. by 195mm., opening “Christus natus est nobis …”, formed of a man arching his body into the form of the letter and holding a goose by its legs, before a detailed scene of the Birth of Christ, 4 lines of text with music on a 5-line red stave in a fine hand emulating the late gothic, full border of elaborate coloured
acanthus-leaves terminating in animal masks and sprays of pink roses, and enclosing realistic birds, roundels enclosing scenes of the Annunciation to the Shepherds (90mm. in diameter), and twin crowned coats-of-arms in the bas-de-page.
From a choirbook made for King Philip V of Spain (duke of Anjou until his accession to the Spanish throne in 1700) following his marriage to Princess Marie Luisa Gabriella of Savoy on 2 November 1701. The marriage cemented the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years’ War, and she proved extremely popular with the Spanish until her untimely death from tuberculosis in 1714 at the age of twenty-six.
Merry Wives of Windsor
William Shakespeare. Illuminated by John H. Tearle. DeVinne Press, NY, Merrill & Baker 1903.
PRINTED ON VELLUM. 22 FINE WATERCOLOR MINIATURES throughout, (16 character studies and 6 views), 27 large inititals, large tendrils or other decorations on every page, rubricated capitals throughout in eight colors. Dark brown crushed levant morocco, covers with gilt fillet and border of small tools framing a large design of ornamental scrollwork around a medallion with the initial S, the inlays in blue, mauve, turquoise, green, yellow, maroon and fawn morocco; spine in six compartments with five raised bands, gilt lettered in two compartments, a repeated colored morocco inlaid panel in the rest, fawn and various colored morocco inlays, uncut, stamp-signed by John H. Tearle on front doublure; velvet-lined cloth box. Provenance: Abby B. Blodgett (designation on limitation leaf).
ONE OF SEVEN COPIES ON VELLUM, this copy number 3, each copy with different decoration, printed in black on one side of the sheet only, major initials in gold, line and other smaller initials supplied in various colors, marginal watercolor drawings of women and landscape views, profusely decorated with scrollwork initial extensions, borders and other ornaments, in gold and a very wide range of colors. Laid in is the original subscription form. Merrill & Baker’s Illuminated Shakespeare was to comprise thirty-nine volumes, each limited to seven numbered copies. It is unlikely that the project was ever completed.