Wednesday, October 22, 2014

169. Four Shelves of Books at Auction

Nadeau's Auction Gallery, in Windsor, Connecticut, announced its 'Important Annual Fall Antiques and Fine Art Auction' that will take place on 25 October.

Nadeau's Auction Gallery, 25 October 2014, lot no. 437
The sale includes antique tables, chests, pianos, paintings, and also four shelves of books. The description of lot no. 437 - the last lot - is short:

Four shelves of books, some leather bound, to include Ivan Turgenieff, Edgar Allen Poe, Works of Longfellow, First Numbered Addition and Vale Press Hacon, Charles Ricketts Shakespear set.

Nadeau's Auction Gallery, 25 October 2014, lot no. 437
('Addition' must be a typo for 'Edition'; and Shakespeare's name lacks a final 'e' in the website description.)

The estimated price is $200-$400, starting bid is $100. The spines show heavy wear and serious damage to some of them. The Vale Press edition of Shakespeare seems to be almost complete - I can count 38 (out of 39) volumes, but I am not sure which volumes are included. Some spines look rather browned. Of course, one should also be able to smell the volumes to ascertain their provenance, as the contents of these shelves might be taken from a library that was also used as a smoking room...

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

168. Antonio Cippico on Ricketts and Shannon

In 1929 Antonio Cippico (1877-1935) showed Ricketts around Rome. They had been friends for a long time. 

Bookplate of Antonio Cippico
Born in Zadar (on the Adriatic coast in Croatia), Cippico studied law, and graduated in Vienna in 1901. In 1906 he moved to London to teach at the University, and between 1911 and 1928 he was a professor of English literature at the University of London. He was a member of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1923 he was appointed senator at the Senato della Repubblica; and he represented Italy in the League of Nations (1925-1928). In 1925 he co-founded the magazine Archivio storico per la Dalmazia that later remembered him as a poet, an orator, advocate, and a great connoisseur of Dalmatia. He translated works of Shakespeare and Nietzsche. He was an early supporter of Italian fascism (and died long before the outcome of that choice became visible).

Antonio Cippico in 1925
Cippico travelled a lot between Rome, London and Venice. He came to dinner in Ricketts's and Shannon's house in London, visited D'Annunzio in Paris, received letters from Ricketts in Venice or Vienna, and showed Ricketts around Rome. Ricketts dedicated his book of imaginary conversations Beyond the Threshold (1929) 'To the Poet Antonio Cippico'.

Ricketts and Cippico exchanged letters as early as 1912 (see Self-Portrait, 1939, p. 179), and Cippico had written an essay about Charles Shannon in an Italian magazine, Vita d'Arte, in March 1910. 

The essay 'Charles Shannon' was published as part of a series on 'Pittori Rappresentativi'.

Antonio Cippico, 'Charles Shannon' (1910)
The article introduced Shannon's paintings to the Italian audience and contained no less than thirteen reproductions, which was the article's greatest merit. The text, similar to most art criticism of the day, contained rather idealistic and general observations on art, before discussing more acute details.

Antonio Cippico
Cippico wrote about Shannon's portrait of Mrs Patrick Campbell, and then analysed the portrait of 'another famous actress' (p. 101), who was depicted in a costume designed by Ricketts for the role of Dona Anna; this was Lillah McCarthy, playing the Mozart figure in a play by George Bernard Shaw, 'Don Juan in Hell', a part of Man and Superman (performed in 1907).

Cippico argued that the portrait was not a romantic painting, but the depiction of an actress in her costume that was designed to be reminiscent of the paintings of Velazquez. The costume of rose silk, black lace, with silver trimmings, was described by Cippico as of rose and blue brocade; a costume that looked richer than that of the princesses painted by Velazques. It was, he claimed, full of suggestions of antique beauty and nostalgia.

Cippico praised Shannon's idealism and his decorative paintings, and he announced a sequel to the article in which he would also write about his illustrations, the lithographs, and his 'most beloved comrade', Charles Ricketts - he also described Ricketts as Shannon's 'intimate brother'.

His conclusion was that Shannon decorated the beauteous body, and that Ricketts's imagination gave it its soul (l'anima di esse).

The second article was never published.

[Thanks are due to my friend Lia de Wolf, who translated parts of the Cippico essay for me.]

Antonio Cippico, 'Charles Shannon' (1910)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

167. The Late H.A. Warmelink, Notary at Amsterdam

Recently I received a booklet on Benjamin Franklin as a printer. It was published (posthumously) to honour a Dutch book collector from Amsterdam, H.A. Warmelink. After reading it, I consulted the catalogue of his auction that was issued by Menno Hertzberger (1897-1982), the well-known Dutch antiquarian book dealer and one of the founders of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers.

Auction catalogue H.A. Warmelink (1960)
The Auction-Sale of the Important Collection of Books of the Late H.A. Warmelink Notary at Amsterdam was published in two parts. The second part contained his collection of 'Modern Fine Printing'.

Hendrik Adolf (Henk) Warmelink (13 April 1890-14 November 1959), born in Deventer, was appointed as a notary in Amsterdam in 1932. One of the founders of the Dutch typography society 'Non Pareil', he was a connoisseur of typefaces, calligraphy and printing. 

His collection of fine printing contained examples of almost all modern private presses, such as the Ashendene Press, the Doves Press, the Eragny Press, the Essex House Press, the Golden Cockerell Press, the Golden Hind Press, the Merrymount Press, the Roycroft Press, Seven Acres Press, and the Tintern Press. His sale records five Kelmscott Press books: The Tale of King Florus and the Fair Jehane (1893, Peterson A21), Atalanta in Calydon (1894, Peterson A25), Hand and Soul (1895, Peterson A36) Laudes Beatae Mariae Virginis (1896, Peterson A42), and The Story of Sigurd the Volsung (1898, Peterson A50).  

He also owned five Vale Press books that were listed under the heading 'Ballantyne Press'.

Apuleius, De Cupidines et Psyches Amoribus (Vale Press, 1901)
Warmelink's sale mentioned the two Apuleius editions of the Vale Press, one in Latin and one in English: The Excellent Narration of the Marriage of Cupide and Psyches (1897), De Cupinides et Psyches Amoribus (1901). Two other VP editions were: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1901), and A Bibliography of the Books issued by Hacon & Ricketts (1904). One pre-Vale publication was listed: Hero and Leander (1894).

It might be difficult to identify his books, as he probably did not use a bookplate.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

166. A Ricketts-Style Binding?

In 1909 John Lane published a play by the German writer and journalist Hermann Sudermann (1857-1928): Johannes was first performed in 1898 and had been reprinted many times. The English translation was published as John the Baptist.  

Hermann Sudermann, John the Baptist (1909): title page
Recently, the green cloth binding with gilt decorations and lettering, was called 'attractive' by a book dealer. Another copy was priced as a 'Ricketts-style binding'.

The lettering on the front cover is not in Ricketts's style, but the flame-like ornament is close to his mode of design, which is self-evident if one knows that the ornament was designed by Charles Shannon.

Hermann Sudermann, John the Baptist (1909): front cover
The design of the front cover of John the Baptist, however is not at all reminiscent of Shannon's careful designs for Oscar Wilde's plays, nor of Ricketts's balanced cover designs. 

Ornament for Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan (top)
and Hermann Sudermann, John the Baptist
However, it is clear that the original ornament was re-used for the Sudermann binding. Shannon had designed it for the first edition of Oscar Wilde's play Lady Windermere's Fan that was published by John Lane in 1893. The design was repeated three times on the front and back cover.

Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan (1893) (a copy on E-Bay 2014)
Shannon designed the ornament for a horizontal use, pointing to the left or right, and used a mirrored image to reach (with a minimum of expense) a lively and pleasing effect. For John the Baptist the ornament was used (certainly without Shannon's knowledge) vertically only, without the subtle variation in the repetition, and placing the designs too close to the title and author's name.

Hermann Sudermann, John the Baptist (1909): front cover (detail)
The circled dots were used as a separate stamp to decorate the spine title of John the Baptist. Shannon had not made use of these dots as a separate ornament. And the spine decoration was not a replica, as we can deduct from the central dot, which was as large as the others, while in Shannon's design it had been a very small and subtle central dot.
Hermann Sudermann, John the Baptist (1909): spine (detail)
Without the assistance of the original artist, most re-used book designs are employed in a less subtle, usually cheap, arbitrary, and less convincing way. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

165. The Great War, an Exhibition in Wales

In 1919, the National Museum Wales (Amgueddfa Cymry) was presented with a set of sixty-six lithographs that had been issued by the Bureau of Propaganda in 1917: The Great War. Britain's Efforts and Ideals. From 2 August 2014 to 7 January 2015 the Cardiff museum shows the whole series. A catalogue has been issued in English and in Welsh.

The Great War: Britain's Efforts and Ideals (catalogue issued by National Museum of Wales, 2014)
The catalogue has a (rather short) introduction on this war time publication, however, all sixty-six prints have been reproduced. The price is only £5.

Ricketts and Shannon were invited to contribute a colour lithograph for the series of 'Ideals', as were Frank Brangwyn, Augustus John, Edmund Dulac, and others. The project was carried out under the direction of Shannon's and Ricketts's friend F. Ernest Jackson (1872-1945), and the lithographs were printed by Avenue Press in London.

Charles Ricketts, 'Italia Redenta' (1917)
The artists were paid handsomely for their prints, each receiving £210. The subjects were selected by the project management and the images had to pass censorship regulations. The complete series was first exhibited in July 1917, in the Fine Art Society of London, and toured the country afterwards. The prints were also on exhibition in France and in the United States.

Charles Shannon, 'The Re-birth of the Arts' (1917)
All prints are reproduced on the website of the National Museum of Wales. The site also contains more background information than the catalogue. Although the prints were shown all over the place, sales were not as hoped for, and in the end a loss was made on the project. 

The museum's set of prints had been in its original mounts for over a hundred years, but now they have been taken out, and restored. Research established that the lithographs were printed on paper with a 'Holbein' watermark. This paper was produced by Spalding and Hodge in Kent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

164. Only A Picture

Charles Shannon, 'A Portrait of the Artist' (1905): lithograph (Dallas Museum of Art)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

163. A New Biography of Oscar Wilde's Bibliographer

Recently a second biographical sketch of Oscar Wilde's bibliographer, Christopher Sclater Millard (also known as Stuart Mason), appeared. It is written and self-published by Maria Roberts through Publishing: Yours Loyally

Maria Roberts, Yours Loyally. A Life of Christopher Sclater Millard (2014)
Frankly, the book has all the faults of self-published books: darkly reproduced and mostly unnecessary photographs of buildings (not people), page numbers on title page and blank pages, occasional lapses in the outlining of paragraphs, the absence of a proof reader who might have corrected the misspelling of (Dutch) names (such as Gerrit Groenewergen), and the more annoying references to people's given names, in many places forcing the reader to go back ten or more pages to find out that Charley, Charles, and Alfred, are in fact Charles Garrett, Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff, and Lord Alfred Douglas. Robert Ross, of course, is called Robbie all the time.

Anyway, the only reason to talk about the book is that it includes new information about Millard, who not only compiled Wilde's bibliography, and worked for the Burlington Magazine, acted as Ross's secretary, and became an antiquarian book dealer out of necessity, but pursued the life of a Catholic, a Jacobite, and a homosexual. He was convicted twice for homosexual conduct, and spent six, and later twelve, months in jail.

H. Montgomery Hyde, Christopher Sclater Millard (Stuart Mason). Bibliographer & Antiquarian Book Dealer (1989)
H. Montgomery Hyde's earlier, brief biography concentrated on the bookish side of Millard's life, while Roberts does not seem to know a lot about bibliography, Wilde, or the 1890s in general. She quotes extensively from two sources: letters from Millard to the Wilde collector Walter Ledger, and the correspondence and statements of the Metropolitan Police Officer. These new sources portray the ongoings of Millard in a gay literary circle in London, and are most welcome for the study of the period - I enjoyed reading these gossipy pages. However, they take much more space than Millard's other activities, distorting the picture of a man whose chief merit was his bibliography and other publications about Oscar Wilde. Also, 'could have' and 'perhaps' occur too many times in the book that despite a lack of information fills in the blanks.

Stuart Mason (C.S. Millard), Bibliography of Oscar Wilde (1914)
Roberts talks about 'Charles de Soury [for Soucy] Ricketts on page 106 [and in the index], but seven lines later shortens it to 'Charles'. Charles Ricketts's and Charles Shannon's names are listed among the acknowledgements in Millard's bibliography. Millard visited Ricketts in order to find out more about Wilde's books that he and Shannon had designed for Wilde. On 15 November 1912 Millard wrote to Walter Ledger: 'I am going to see him one day soon [...] And will let you know if I can get any information out of him.' Millard thought that he knew more about Ricketts's drawings 'than he knows himself!' (p. 105-106). The outcome of the meeting remains unrecorded, although the bibliography contains details that Millard could only have heard from Ricketts and Shannon. 

On 2 January 1919 Millard wrote to Ledger that the bibliography should have been produced in a limited edition of five hundred copies, as the publisher - after selling most copies - used the unsold gatherings as packing paper. For the binding Millard reproduced the three roundels that Ricketts had designed for Wilde's collected works that were published in 1908. Roberts does not mention this. She seems to think that only 80 copies of these works were published (page 88); of course, besides 80 deluxe copies in vellum bindings, 1000 copies in buckram were issued.

The information on the personalities from the nineties is shallow and full of mistakes. It is suggested, for instance, that Alexander Teixeiro de Mattos was introduced into a circle of former friends of Oscar Wilde after his 1900 marriage to Lily Wilde. Of course, he had known them as early as 1891 (when he co-translated with John Gray a novel by the Dutch writer Louis Couperus, Ecstasy), and Wilde himself wrote him a letter in May 1893 (see The Complete Letters). 

Roberts later suggests that John Gray and AndrĂ© Raffalovich were living together in Edinburgh in 1916 when Millard attended mass at Gray's church, but Gray only lived with Raffalovich at No. 9, Whitehouse Terrace in Edinburgh while, nearby, St. Peter's Church and his house were built for him (1905-1907). Another nineties personality, the actor and stage manager Jack Thomas Grein is misnamed John. This kind of errors in a book always makes me nervous: can we trust the quotations from the Ledger letters or the police reports that Maria Roberts presents us in her biography of Millard? Surely, they are revealing and entertaining and absolutely need to be quoted - even though the police reports must be full of biased views and outright lies, - as we now have been presented with a more rounded picture of Wilde's bibliographer. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

162. Ricketts's and Shannon's Collector's Mark

The art historian Frits Lugt (1884-1970) compiled an overview of collector's marks of public and private art collectors, dealers, and printers. The 1956 Supplement to his reference work Les Marques de collections contains two marks for Ricketts and Shannon. A digitized version is available on Delpher, a Dutch website that also contains hundreds of newspapers, and magazines.

Collector's mark of Ricketts and Shannon
One collector's mark of Ricketts and Shannon was used for drawings by Tiepolo, Rubens, Van Dijck, Delacroix, and others left to the Fitzwilliam Museum - these names were mentioned by Frits Lugt who had personally seen the mark on them. The design is of two interlocked 'C's, referring to Ricketts's and Shannon's identical Christian names. The design is similar to that of the binding of Hero and Leander (1894), although the intertwined initials for this book probably stood for the initials of the authors Christopher Marlowe and George Chapman: 'C' and 'G'.

Intertwined 'C' and 'G' on the binding of Hero and Leander (1894)
Another collector's mark - an R and S in a circle - was used for the drawings that were left to the British Museum. This mark was designed by Laurence Binyon when the drawings arrived there.

Laurence Binyon, Collector's mark designed for Ricketts and Shannon

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

161. From the Collection of Messrs Ricketts and Shannon

An advertisement for Old Master Drawings. A Quarterly Magazine for Students and Collectors mentioned that Charles Ricketts was among the collaborators. 

 The Print Collectors's Quarterly, October 1926
Ricketts never wrote an essay for the magazine. However, some of the old master drawings from the collection of Ricketts and Shannon were reproduced in it, and although this must have been the sort of contributions that the magazine solicited from certain collectors, the editor probably expected more from Ricketts's and Shannon's well-known art collection, and may have hoped for a critical essay by Ricketts. Several art works from their collection were reproduced in Old Master Drawings, but the comments were written by other art connoisseurs.

Peter Paul Rubens, 'A Path Bordered by Trees' (from the collection of Ricketts and Shannon)
Plate 12 in volume 2 (June 1927-March 1928) reproduced a drawing by the Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) with a commentary by Campbell Dodgson:

The path, bordered by trees and bushes, divides two plots of ground enclosed by a fence loosely built of branches of trees. Narrower paths, opening out of it to left and right, admit to an enclosure which the elaborately pruned fruit-tree on the extreme left proves to be an orchard, and to a corresponding space on the right which is left much more vague. A fresh and charming sketch from nature, masterly in perspective and in the suggestion of atmosphere.

The drawing was on show during an exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art at the Royal Academy in 1927. Before it came to Ricketts and Shannon, it had been owned by the reverend Thomas Kerrich (1748-1828). In their wills, the artists left the Rubens drawing to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

The catalogue of the Ricketts and Shannon collection of the Fitzwilliam Museum, All for Art (1979), written by Joseph Darracott, suggests on the authority of Michael Jaffé, that Rubens may have been inspired for this drawing by Federico Barocci [Il Baroccio] (c. 1526-1612). Rubens owned drawings by Barocci which he had acquired around 1616.

The collection of Ricketts and Shannon contained two Barocci drawings, both figure studies. They owned five drawings and studies by Rubens, all now at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Darracott remarked (in The World of Charles Ricketts, 1980) that their collection contained almost no landscapes, but that the Rubens drawing was a beautiful exception.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

160. One Hundred Remaindered Copies of The Dial

In October 1931 Charles Ricketts died, and the mentally ill Shannon had to be cared for.

Christie's, auction catalogue, 4 December 1933, page 35
Thomas Lowinsky and Ernest Jackson, the executors of Ricketts's will, took a series of difficult decisions. Townshend House was sold in 1933 and Shannon was moved to Kew Gardens Road (where he would die in 1937). Valuable pieces from their art collections were sent to the museums to which they had been left in Ricketts's and Shannon's wills. And in December 1933 books and prints were sold at auction.

Christie's, auction catalogue, 4 December 1933
Dedication copies of Oscar Wilde, Michael Field, Gordon Bottomley, and W.B. Yeats were thus dispersed, as were sets of Eragny and Vale Press books, art books, a collection of 77 lithographs by Shannon, and a complete set of the five issues of The Dial, their own magazine. The Christie's catalogue is a record of that sale.

Christie's, auction catalogue, 4 December 1933, lot 403
Lot 403 contained Ricketts's and Shannon's stock of The Dial. Almost 40 years after publication, ten copies of No. 3, seven copies of No. 4, and no less than eighty-three copies of No. 5 were remaindered. Eighty-three copies! A pile of almost one meter!

Of the first issue (1889) 200 copies had been printed, thirteen of which were still available in 1892. The second issue, also 200 copies, apparently sold out. Then the number of copies was raised to 250 for the third issue, and 270 for the last two issues.

Title on the wrapper of The Dial (No. 4, 1896)
In October 1893, the prospectus for the third issue announced that the first two issues had been sold out. In 1898 copies of the third and fourth issue could still be obtained from the publishers, who mentioned that of No. 4 'A few copies still remain'. The phrase was not used in regard to number 5 (A List of Books, 1898), of which many more copies had remained unsold. In 1901, John Lane could still offer his American customers copies of Nos. 3 to 5. Apparently, copies of the third and fourth issues were sold eventually, while of the fifth and last number almost a third of the edition remained unsold. 

An explanation for this failure is not easy to give. Perhaps Ricketts did not care enough when the last number was published in 1897, as he was occupied by the more demanding task of The Vale Press that had issued its first book in 1896. He no longer was in need of a magazine to publish his wood-engravings, and kept them for the Vale Press books.

In 1933, eighty-three copies of the last number of The Dial flooded the market, or were they kept by a bookseller who, every now and then, would sell off a copy? The word 'scarce' usually found its way into descriptions of The Dial in bookseller's and auction catalogues, although the fifth number never had been scarce. Only if all copies that were auctioned in 1933 would have been destroyed (on purpose, or, during the War) the fifth number would have become really 'scarce': with 187 previously sold copies the issue would have been more scarce than the first number that was issued in no more than 200 copies.

However, today, two copies of number 5 are offered for sale online, and none of the others. That, perhaps, is an indication.

 Publisher's name on the wrapper of The Dial (No. 4, 1896)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

159. A Flow Chart of the Reprint of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Last week's blog, The Puzzling Reprint of The Picture of Dorian Grayand its perhaps confusing chronology, asks for a sort of flow chart of events. Below one finds the information on the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1891 and the reprint of 1895, along with some biographical dates from Wilde's life, and the sources for assumptions or facts. Assumptions that could not be corroborated are given in red.

Oscar Wilde
Published evidence

April 1891

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Published April 1891 (Ward, Lock & Co)
Deluxe edition: July 1891

Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 282
Mason, Bibliography (1914), p. 343
Mentioned as published in The Publishers’ Circular, 18 April 1891
July 1891
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Deluxe edition published: July 1891

Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 282
Mason, Bibliography (1914), p. 345 [British Library copy dated 4 July 1891]
October 1894
New PDG edition published

Mentioned in a letter to Walter Ledger (1904)
End of 1894

New edition PDG in preparation
Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 282
The PC did not mention a reprint of PDG in the notes on 'Books reduced in price', or 'New editions'; there was no announcement of it by Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co.
March 1895

New edition is ready
Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 283
Mason, Bibliography, p. 347.
5 April 1895
Wilde is arrested

27 April 1895
Edward Baker, Birmingham, advertises his wish to buy copies of Wilde’s books, incl. PDG
Publishers’ Circular, 27 April 1895, advertisement by Edward Baker (‘Books wanted to purchase’): ‘Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray. Any edit[ion]
------ ------- The Happy Prince
------ ------- The Sphinx
------ ------- Any books by’.
25 May 1895

Wilde is sentenced to prison

14 September 1895
Edward Baker wants to buy 'Wilde's Chameleon'.
The Publishers' Circular, 14 September 1895: Edward Baker published a list of books he wanted to buy, including 'Wilde's Chameleon'.
12 October 1895

New edition of PDG published
The Publishers' Circular, 12 October 1895: announcement as published: ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray. Cr.8vo. p.334, Ward & L.'

English Catalogue (1896):
October 1895
Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 282.
12 and 19 October 1895
Copies of PDG offered for sale by Edward Baker

The Publishers' Circular, 12 October 1895: advertisement by Edward Baker, offering for sale: 'Oscar Wilde's "Dorian Gray." […] The book which was much talked about in the trial Wilde v. Queensberry. Suppressed by the publishers. Few remaining copies, 6s. each; 10 copies, 5s. each; 25 copies, 4s.6d. each.'

Also published: 19 October 1895

26 October – 28 December 1895

Copies offered for sale by
Edward Baker (incl. large paper copies of first ed.)

Adv. Republished: 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 November, 7, 14, 21 and 28 December 1895.

The Publishers’ Circular, 26 October 1895

Also published: 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 November, 7, 14, 21 and 28 December 1895.

9 November 1895

Edward Baker wants to buy copies of 'Wilde's (Oscar) Poems. 1892'.
The Publishers’ Circular, 9 November 1895 ('Books wanted to purchase')
September 1896

New edition of PDG remaindered, after Bowden retired from Ward, Lock, Bowden & Co.

Mason, Bibliography, p. 347
Mason, Art & Morality (1912), p. 283