Jun 302018
 

One of the very best things about what I do is finding things that are truly wonderful and finding them the *perfect* home. While in Oxford a few months ago, Ben Maggs of Maggs Bros. told me about a remarkable set of Doves Press books they were in the midst of cataloguing. Purchased by a father for his daughter, the set was complete and included every receipt and in extraordinary condition. I knew just the person to pick up the mantle of stewardship for this collection…this remarkable set of books will be treasured and cared for anew, as they so clearly were by their first owner. It is moments like this that make everything I do make sense. I have included below Maggs’ wonderful research and description for your pleasure:

William Lang Lang (1852–1937) was a senior ophthalmologist, and enthusiast for and collector of Arts and Crafts furniture, silverware and books. He lived in Chiswick as a young adult, and ministered professionally to members of the West London socialist set. He was on dining terms with William Morris, although their intimacy was probably overstated by his family’s belief that Morris stood god-child to his daughter Lyndon. Halliday Sparling (The Kelmscott Press, p. 17) reports Lang as a participant in a discussion between Morris and the typefounder Talbot Baines Reed on the relationship between “ocular health” and typography. In his introduction to Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant George Bernard Shaw enjoyed the paradox of Lang’s diagnosis of his vision as “normal”: Lang had ex- plained that only about 10% of people have this, which Shaw jumped on as proof that it was the others who were wrong “My mind’s eye, like my body’s was “normal” it saw things differently from other people’s eyes, and saw them better.1” W.B. Yeats also consulted Lang professionally. Norman Kelvin in the Collected Letters of William Morris describes Lang as a friend of Emery Walker, and it is conceivable that the early blindness of Walker’s father was an initial point of contact.
Lang, who had private means in addition to his professional income, had a complete set of Kelmscotts, including a pigskin Chaucer, and not one, but two complete sets of Doves Press books – one for his son and one for his daughter. The Kelmscotts and one of the Doves sets were sold at auction in 19462, nearly a decade after Lang’s death, and although both sets were offered subject to the auctioneer’s option to sell them as a single item, they were in fact broken up. The current set of Doves Press books, as well as some of his furniture and silver, was inherited by his daughter Marie Lyndon Lang, who was an enthusiastic bookbinder herself (several of her bindings are included in this collection for context), and was in turn inherited on her death in 1977 by George Chapman, a spirit healer, or “psychic surgeon” who had a successful career channelling the spirit of her late father.

The Doves Press

The Doves Press was founded in 1901, nine years after William Lang moved away from Chiswick, as a partnership between the typographer and printer Emery Walker, and Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson, who had already established himself as the leading bookbinder of his generation. Both Walker and Cobden-Sanderson were intimate collaborators with Morris in the Kelmscott Press, Cobden-Sanderson binding many Kelmscott books (including the great pigskin Chaucer) at his Doves Bindery, and Emery Walker acting as principal printing adviser, Morris writing later that “I was not much of a typographer before Mr. Walker took me in hand. …” The Kelmscott Press ended with Morris’s death in 1896, and it is possible to see the Doves Press as a continuation of its work, although it is difficult to exaggerate just how different the products were.
Most histories of the Doves Press focus on Cobden-Sanderson, emphasizing his role in founding the Press, and it is not hard to understand why: he was a romantic and eccentric visionary figure (he described him- self as “a Visionary and Fanatic”3) who “combined in one person one of the most rational and one of the most irrational of beings”4, driven by a vaguely aligned but deeply held religious passion yet with an unshakeable faith in the ability of man through science and engineering to con- struct “the House Beautiful, the Inhabitable Earth.” Books were the chosen syncretic object through which to achieve his goal of advancing the “Workmanship of Life in Life itself”5, initially through their binding, and later through their printing.

 

The run of vellum bound Doves books. They are in remarkably fresh condition, unthumbed and unworn. The apparent discolouration in this picture is caused by the natural variations in tone with the vellum.

The Doves Press was almost literally built on the foundations of the Kelmscott Press – their pressman Harry Gage-Cole had been apprenticed at Kelmscott, they used paper from the same mill, and were based just a few doors from Kelmscott House – but it expressed a fundamentally different ethos, one which has arguably had rather more direct influence on modern aesthetics. The Doves Press output had the same coherence as Kelmscott’s, but a great deal more clarity, exchanging a more modern spiritual view of the role of art and labour for Morris’s rich medievalism. As Colin Franklin wrote “Morris and decoration and Gothic … showed great panache in a street marked clearly ‘No Thoroughfare’. Walker and Cobden-Sanderson started upon the broad way to our own taste”6. Of Morris’s taste for ornament Cobden-Sanderson himself was scathing, writing in his extraordinary Journals. “I am not greatly interested in the decoration of books, although I decorate them; it is in the ideal of which the binding and decoration of books are illustrations that I am interested, and therefore secondarily in the decoration and binding of books”, of Morris’s life he wrote “Morris’s life was something of a tragedy …


Above left: the three morocco bound books issued by the press, and the printed Cobden-Sanderson letters to the Press. Above right: all the original invoices are present.

He should have become an architect, a master builder; he became instead – an upholsterer”, and … of the Kelmscotts he wrote “I cannot get beyond the Typography. The thing intended to be conveyed will ever be ‘intended to be conveyed’, and will never be conveyed! I have not read all or any portion of any one of the Books printed by him and I think I never shall, but I have said and say that as to the Books themselves I should like to make a bath of them; they are so delightful to the eyes and inviting to the sense of touch. This upon the side of their excess of Beauty.” Most importantly, he was not concerned with re-enacting the work of the great printers of the past “We are the men of the middle and of all other ages, but our setting, actual and acquired, is different, and consequently our ‘creations’ take other forms. To force ourselves into the forms of other times is to be affected, and to be useless for our time … men of today, who affect the forms of other times, have their eyes wholly or partially closed.”
The overwhelming ambition of the Press, as expressed by Cobden- Sanderson in his remarkable manifesto-like text The Ideal Book or Book Beautiful, printed as the second publication of the Press, would come across as hubristic nonsense were not the books themselves so perfect; equally his vision of the book as “a symbol of the infinitely beautiful in which all things of Beauty rest and unto which all things of Beauty rest and unto which all things of Beauty do ultimately merge” would be eminently mockable, if he hadn’t actually delivered on these dreams. As it was, this desire to express cosmic harmony through the making of books led to some of the most perfect objects the world has ever seen, simultaneously austere and luxurious.

The Protagonists

Cobden-Sanderson (who took the first part of his surname from his wife, Annie, daughter of Richard Cobden, liberal businessman and anti corn- law campaigner) tested several different careers, including engineering, the Church, mathematics and law (which he practiced for over a decade) before the patronage of Annie allowed him to settle on his life’s work. His mysticism was at times incomprehensible, his prose was perfectly formed but complex, and his personal style florid, with his berets, tunics and cravats, but he was a great deal more than a theorist. He had astonished the bookbinder Roger de Coverley at the speed with which he learnt the skills of bookbinding, and the 145 books that he bound with his own hand before establishing the Doves Bindery are among the greatest bookbindings ever made: his practice established the model (still dominant in the Anglo-Saxon world) for the artist-binder. With the encouragement of Annie, Cobden-Sanderson had long harbored ambitions to print as well as bind, but founding the Doves Press would have been impossible without the aid of a skilled and experienced partner, who Cobden-Sanderson found in Emery Walker.
Unlike Cobden-Sanderson, Walker’s name was not widely known by the general public; he was ‘a shy, practical man’ (p.492, John R. Nash.) who ‘carried everywhere with him an atmosphere of genial friendliness’ (J.H. Mason), with a ‘fine appearance but quite in contrast to that of Cobden- Sanderson’ (Ibid.) Walker had ‘raised himself from a poor background [and] educated himself into the foremost authority in England on print- ing and its history’ (p.492, John R. Nash.) In contrast to Cobden-Sanderson’s proud amateurism, Walker was an experienced typographer with a background of almost an entire working life spent in the printing and photoengraving trade, and who had founded a successful process-en- graving business with Walter Boutall in 1883. Walker was a pivotal figure in the Private Press movement and it was a lecture given by him to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1888 on the history of typography which inspired Morris to found the Kelmscott Press. It was during this lecture that Walker illustrated his design principles by projecting images of fifteenth century typefaces using a magic lantern and slides of photo- graphically enlarged type; the technique appealed to Morris, despite his disavowal of industrial technology, and he worked with Walker to create photographic enlargements of the type of the Venetian printer Nicholas Jenson, upon which he based the design for his Golden type in 1891. As Morris later admitted, ‘I was not much a typographer before Mr Walker took me in hand.’
And this is one of the things that is unique about the Doves Press – un- like Morris’s Kelmscott, St. John Hornby’s Ashendene, Mardersteig’s Bodoni, or Kessler’s Cranach, this combination of the mystic and the technician was a genuine partnership: “Each was complementary to the other, and it was their union that gave us the Doves Press and a new out- look in typography” (J.H. Mason).

The Doves Type

Every private press worthy of the name needs its own type, and for theirs Cobden-Sanderson and Walker turned initially to the same source that Morris had used for his Roman face, the “Golden” type, after Walker (who attended the auction) & Cobden-Sanderson (who paid the bill) bought Morris’s own copy of the Jenson Pliny at Morris’s library sale in 1898. This provided the model for the upper case letters, while the lower case were modelled on the very similar type used in Rubeus’ edition of Aretinus, also printed in Venice in 1476. The letters were drawn by Percy Tiffin of Walker’s firm, working closely with Cobden-Sanderson and Walker, and the punches for it were cut by Edward Prince.

Above: The celebrated opening page of the Bible.

All the Doves books were printed in this one type, with variation added by wood-engraved or hand-flourished initials, and the type came to be something of a “consecrated instrument”7 for Cobden-Sanderson, leading to the celebrated row over the type itself, culminating in its destruction. Much has been written about this episode: the short version is that as the partnership between the two men was breaking down (C-S complaining that Walker played too little a role in the day-to-day running of the press, just dropping in on his way to other appointments) the focal point became the ownership of the type, and its future use. So determined was Cobden-Sanderson that the type would not be used for any less sacred productions than those of the Doves Press, that during the dissolution of the partnership with Walker he covertly began its destruction. As he wrote in his Journals “To the bed of the River Thames I bequeath the Doves Press Fount of Type – the punches, the matrices, and the type in use at the time of my death, and may the river in its tides and flow pass over them to and from the great sea for ever and for ever, or until its tides and flow for ever cease; then may they share the fate of all the world, and pass from change to change for ever upon the Tides of Time, untouched of other use and all else.” He began with the matrices and punches, dropping them from Hammersmith Bridge, and bit by bit, night after night, carried the whole half ton or so of type to the bridge and covertly let them fall. This pagan sacrificial rite, giving back to the River God what Cobden-Sanderson saw as his own sacred type, was incomprehensible to Walker, a much plainer man.

Conclusion

The partnership between Cobden-Sanderson and Walker, and its dissolution with the destruction of the type has been much analyzed. There is a tendency of commentators to take one side of the argument and to minimize the contribution of the other partner
Towards the end of writing this note, the cataloguer has turned to reread Colin Franklin’s essay on the Doves Press, published in his The Private Presses. It is a commentary that makes all other contributions seem rather clumsy. It begins:
“It is a kind of paradox that the Doves Press, simplest and purest of them all in style, was the creation of more passion and complexity of thought than the rest of them put together. Doves Press books have to be seen from more than one level, and the fascination grows upon acquaintance.” After observing that “the visual merits of Doves Press books are from Emery Walker” and that “the taste and knowledge of Emery Walker guided and presided” in the operation of the press, he makes a rather unexpected observation (well, unexpected for a printing historian): “The design was an engineering job, the books a bridge across to mystic realms of cloud and God. And this is where Cobden-Sanderson takes over from Emery Walker. His vision of the ideal book is difficult to express and he quickly became woolly in attempting it; but Cobden-Sanderson had an astonishing gift of mystic communion, practicing the techniques of yoga in his own life and with no effort realizing the wonder and mystery of a moment in the day – or hours at a stretch – when he chose to pause, to think and listen … and when he turned to printing at the age of sixty, the book became for him a symbol of those moments within the day, which contained eternity. Books could reduce God to a page of visible type, as sunlight on a still morning showed the river in His form; and that was the reason for making a book with immense care, and making it beautiful.”

The Rarity of Complete Sets

The Lang collection includes all the published books of the Doves Press, in fine condition, with their original invoices, and an unbroken provenance. Although there are relatively many complete sets in institutions, and at least one in private collection, after fairly extensive research we have not been able to find any records of a set having been sold in one tranche, either at auction or in the trade. Forgive us the indulgence of quoting the California printer John Henry Nash’s account of showing Annie Cobden-Sanderson the William Andrews Clark collection:
‘Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson looked at the collection for a few moments and burst into tears. On recovering her composure she told Mr. Clark that she had never before seen all of her husband’s work assembled in one place.’

Checklist

All references are to Marianne Tidcombe’s invaluable The Doves Press. London, 2002.
Condition is exemplary throughout, and all the books are fresh and unworn. All minor details are noted in the individual descriptions, natural variation in the colours of the vellum is considered an asset not a defect. A complete file of invoices from their original purchase is included, in each case for two copies. As noted above, William Lang assembled two complete sets, one for his son and one for his daughter.
Tacitus (Publius Cornelius). Agricola.
One of 225 copies on paper, with an additional 5 on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[4] i–[xxxiii] [3]. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1901. Tidcombe DP1
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James).
The Ideal Book or Book Beautiful.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 10 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[4] 1–[10] [2]. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. February 1901. Tidcombe DP2
Mackail (John William). William Morris.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[4] 1–27 [1]. Title page printed in red and black, with additional red text on p.1, p.2 and p.18. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1901. Tidcombe DP3
Tennyson (Alfred Lord). [Classical Poems].
One of 325 copies on paper, with an additional 25 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp. [1–4] 5–[56]. First and last poems printed in red, each poem also preceded by a page with title in red. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. July 1902. Tidcombe DP4
Milton (John). Paradise Lost.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 22 copies on vellum and 3 copies on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp. [1–2] 3– [388] [12]. Title in red on p.15, heading and initial on p.16 and book numbers throughout. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, with some slight foxing to the fore-edges of pp.14– 16, 34–37, 273–275 and 346–348, most likely as a result of flaws in the paper. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1902. Tidcombe DP5
The English Bible.
One of 500 copies on paper, with an additional 2 on vellum. 5 Vols., large 4to., 24x34cm. pp. [1–3] 4–[395] [5], pp. [1–2] 3–[529] [1], pp.[1–14] 15– [392], pp.[1–14] 15–[302] [2], pp.[1–2] 3–[308] [12]. Initials printed in red throughout, along with heading on p.27 of Vol. I, and the following in Vol 2: last three lines of Psalm 41 p.333, last five lines of Psalm 72 p.362, last two lines of Psalm 89 p.382, and the last three lines of Psalm 106 p.400. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, with moderate foxing to the first gathering of vol.1 due to a flaw in the paper which is present in most, if not all, sets. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1903 – June 1905. Tidcombe DP6
Milton (John). Paradise Regained, etc.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 22 copies on vellum and 3 copies on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–4] 5– [344]. Heading on p.12 printed in red, along with initials and titles in the margins throughout, also characters and stage directions in ‘Arcades’ and ‘A Mask,’ and characters in ‘Samson Agonistes’; additionally, p.157 one line, p.167 two lines, p.171 one line, p.175 one line, p.177 four lines, p.178 three lines, p.181 three lines, p.218 four lines, p.219 six lines, p.220 two lines, p.224 six lines, p.291 five lines, p.340 three lines. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1905. Tidcombe DP7.
Emerson (Ralph Waldo). Essays, with a preface by
Thomas Carlyle.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 25 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–5] 6–[312]. Initials printed in red throughout, along with names of characters p.212–214. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, slight foxing to pp.101–103. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1906. Tidcombe DP8.
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James). London.
One of what Tidcombe calls ‘probably 300 copies on paper,’ with an additional 5 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1] 2–[8]. 7 Lines printed in red on p.8. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1906. Tidcombe DP9.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Faust.
One of 300 copies on paper, with an additional 22 copies on vellum and a further 3 on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–6] 7–[261] [3]. Characters names and stage directions printed in red throughout, along with titles, acts and scenes in the margins and three lines on p.23. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, slight spotting to fore-edge. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1906. Tidcombe DP10.
Ruskin (John). Unto this Last.
One of 300 copies on paper with an additional 12 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[i–iv] v–[xiv] 1–[122] [1]. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. March 1907. Tidcombe DP11.
Milton (John). Areopagitica.
One of 300 copies on paper with an additional 22 copies on vellum, three of which have title pages in red and black. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1– 7] 8–[75] [5]. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, slight foxing pp.34–35, 56–57 and rear pastedown slightly cockled due to poor application of glue during binding. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1907. Tidcombe DP12.
Carlyle (Thomas). Sartor Resartus.
One of 300 copies, with an additional 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–4] 5–[342] [2]. Initials and titles printed in red throughout, title page with a quote from Goethe in red, along with book and chapter numbers in the margins and two short passages on p.18 and p.251. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, some glue-staining to the spine edge of the covers from binding, rear pastedown slightly cockled in places from an uneven application of glue, internally pristine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1907. Tidcombe DP13.
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James). Catalogue Raisonné.
One of 300 copies on paper. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1] 2–[8]. Titles and paragraph marks printed in red throughout. Original quarter linen with blue paper boards by the Doves Bindery. Fine, very slight bump to lower edge of upper board, a trace of fading along the outward edge of the boards, with a line of foxing to the fore-edge of the front-free endpaper. Hammersmith, Doves Press. May 1908. Tidcombe DP14
Browning (Robert). Men & Women. 2 vols.
One of 250 copies on paper with an additional 12 on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, Vol. 1 pp.[1–6] 7–[201] [7], Vol. 2, pp. [1–6] 7–[194] [2]. Initials and titles printed in red throughout, along with poem titles in the margins, character names in vol. II p.43–73, along with some isolated words and phrases throughout. Contents page with pen flourishes in green and blue before each poem title, along with the following half title, and at the start of each poem throughout; Tidcombe notes that ‘probably only 200 of the paper copies were flourished’. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spines lettered in gilt. Fine, with the faintest of foxing to fore-edges. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1908 – December 1908. Tidcombe DP15
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James). Credo.
One of 250 copies on paper, with an additional 12 on vellum. Small 8vo., 11.5×16.5cm, pp. [1–8]. Original full navy-blue Morocco, spine and upper cover lettered in gilt, a.e.g. Fine, with a small dent towards the fore-edge of the upper cover. Hammersmith, Doves Press. April 1909. Tidcombe DP16.
Shakespeare (William). Hamlet.
One of 250 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp. [1–6] 7–[160] [1]–[24]. Hand-drawn initial ‘W’ on p.7 in green. Two lines, including authors name, printed in red on title page, along with the following half-title, also printed in red are character’s names and stage directions throughout, along with titles, acts and scenes in the margins. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1909. Tidcombe DP17.
Shakespeare (William) Sonnets.
One of 250 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp. [1–5] 6–[86] [2]. Two full page initials on p.6 and p.82, a half-page initial on p.70 and another smaller initial on p.84; all printed in black, designed by Edward Johnston and cut by Noel Rooke and Eric Gill. Three lines of title page printed in red, along with titles and numbers of sonnets throughout, the entirety of sonnet 126 on p.69 and the list on sonnets on p.[86]. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1909. Tidcombe DP18.
Winship (George Parker). William Caxton.
One of 300 paper copies, with an additional 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp. [1–4] 5–[27] [5]. Four lines on the title page printed in red, along with initials throughout and colophon. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, the faintest signs of foxing between p.12–14. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1909. Tidcombe DP19.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Faust. Zweiter Theil.
One of 250 copies on paper, with an additional 22 copies on vellum and a further 3 copies on vellum with initials in gold. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1]10] 11–[374] [2]. One line on the title page printed in red, along with character names and stage directions throughout, titles, acts and scene numbers in red in margins, title on p.186 along with references on pages 275, 276, 286, 335, 370. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, slightest of spotting to top and fore- edge, with very minor spotting to the covers along the same edges. Hammersmith, Doves Press. June 1910. Tidcombe DP20.
Mackail (J.W.) [edits] Pervigilium Veneris.

One of 150 copies on paper, with an additional 12 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[8] [1]–7 [1]. Initials printed in red throughout, along with half title and the refrain line following each verse throughout. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1911. Tidcombe DP21.
Browning (Robert). Dramatis Personae.
One of 250 copies on paper, with an additional 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–9] 10–[203] [5]. Title page initial printed in red, along with half title, titles of poems in margins, passages on p. 74, 102–105, 116, 191–192, title on p.193, last two lines of p.202. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, the faintest foxing from p.52–57. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1911. Tidcombe DP22.
Saint Francis [Beradoni] Of Assisi. Laudes Creaturarum.
One of 250 copies on paper, along with 12 copies on vellum. Small 8vo., 11.5×16.5cm, pp.[1–10]. Title page printed in red, along with the English text throughout and explicit. Full brick-red Morocco by the Doves Bindery, spine and upper board lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1911. Tidcombe DP23.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Die Leiden.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 20 copies on vellum and an additional five copies on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–9] 10–[188] [8]. Initials on p.10 and p.90 printed in red, along with second line of half title, the dates heading each entry throughout, book numbers in the margins and portions of text on p.21, p.33, p.34, p.49, p.99, p.100. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. May 1911. Tidcombe DP24.
Wordsworth (William). A Decade of Years.

One of 200 copies on paper, with an additional 12 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–9] 10–[231] [1]. Half title printed in red, along with initials, part titles and divisional titles throughout, with part numbers in red in the margins throughout and character names between p.56–70, the final word on p.224 and the first line of pp.226–230. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, with spine lettered in gilt. Fine, with very faint spotting to top, bottom and fore edges. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1911. Tidcombe DP25.
In Principio. [from Genesis].
One of 200 copies on paper, with an additional 12 copies on vellum. Small 8vo., 11.5×16.5, pp. [1–10]. Half title printed in red and a repeated half title before the colophon, along with every appearance of the text
‘And God Said’ and the preceding paragraph mark. Original full brick-red Morocco, spine and upper board lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1911. Tidcombe DP26.
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James). Catalogue 
Raisonné.
One of 250 copies on paper. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[2] [1]–12 [2]. Fourth line of title page printed in red, along with paragraph marks, section headings and numerals throughout. Original quarter linen over blue paper boards by the Doves Bindery, lettered in black on the upper cover. Fine, with a notice of publication from the Doves Press dated November 1911 loosely tipped in. Hammersmith, Doves Press. November 1911. Tidcombe DP27.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Iphigenie auf Tauris.
One of 200 copies, along with 20 copies on vellum and an additional 12 copies on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–9] 10– [111] [1]. pp. 5–9 printed in red, including half title, along section titles and character names throughout, with titles, acts and scenes in the margins throughout. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. May 1912. Tidcombe DP28.
Shakespeare (William). Anthony and Cleopatra.
One of 200 copies, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–6] 7–[142]. Two lines, including the authors name, printed in red on the title page, along with the following half-title, also characters and stage directions throughout, with titles, acts and scenes in the margins. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. October 1912. Tidcombe DP29.
Shakespeare (William). Venus and Adonis.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–7] 8–[59] [1]. Half title with two lines printed in red, along with the entire dedication page, title page initials, opening initial on p.8 and entire colophon. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, with the faintest signs of spotting to the fore-edge. Hammersmith, Doves Press. October 1912. Tidcombe DP30.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Torquato Tasso.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum and an additional 12 copies on vellum with gold initials. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–9] 10–[164] [4]. Fly-title printed in red along with entirety of ‘personen’ on p.[7], divisional titles and character names and stage directions throughout, with titles, acts and scenes in the margins. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, very faint spotting to fore-edge. Hammersmith, Doves Press. March 1913. Tidcombe DP31.
Shakespeare (William). Julius Caesar.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm, pp.[1–6] 7–[116] [4]. Half-title and initials printed in red, along with two lines of title page, divisional titles, characters and stage directions throughout, the explicit, and title, act and scene numbers in margins. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. July 1913. Tidcombe DP32.
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James) [Edits]. Amantium Irae.
One of 150 copies on paper, along with 3 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–11] 12–[143] [1]. Two lines printed in red on title page, entirety of p.10–11, p.42, p.84, p.134 and p.138–139, letter numbers, dates, divisional titles, and commentary in parenthesis throughout, along with titles, letter numbers and dates repeated in margins. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1914. Tidcombe DP33.
Shakespeare (William). Coriolanus.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 15 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–6] 7–[165] [3]. Two lines of title page printed in red, along with fly-title including two initials, part titles, characters and stage directions throughout, headings and section titles in the Errata, with titles, acts and scene numbers in margins throughout. Original limp vel- lum by the Doves Bindery. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. March 1914. Tidcombe DP34.
Shelley (Percy Bysshe). Shelley.
One of 200 copies on paper, along with 12 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–6] 7–181 [3]. Title on p.13 printed in red, along with eleven initials throughout, section titles throughout, two lines of Greek on [p.86], titles and part numbers in margins, Arabic and Roman numerals in parts IV and V, the word ‘EXPLICIT’ on p.176, and the first line of each page in the ‘Table of Years’. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. July 1914. Tidcombe DP35.
Keats (John). Keats.

One of 200 copies on paper, along with 12 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–11] 12–203 [5]. Title on [p.11] printed in red, six initials throughout, with part titles and part numbers in the margins throughout, Roman and Arabic numerals in sections II and IV, and the word ‘EXPLICIT’ on p.198. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, with a small mark (1cm) on the lower covers. Hammersmith, Doves Press. January 1915. Tidcombe DP36.
Shakespeare (William). The Rape of Lucrece.
One of 175 paper copies, along with 10 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–7] 8–[78] [2]. Initials printed in red throughout, along with dedication page, initials on title [p.7], and colophon. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. April 1915. Tidcombe DP37
Wordsworth (William). The Prelude.
One of 155 copies on paper, along with 10 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–8] 9–[302] [2]. Fourteen initials printed in red, along with title on [p.7], along with section titles throughout, book numbers and titles in the margins throughout. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine. Hammersmith, Doves Press. December 1915. Tidcombe DP38.
Goethe (Johann Wolfgang von). Goethe.
One of 175 copies on paper, along with 10 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–4] 5–226 [10]. Fifteen initials in red, along with title on p.17, part titles, titles in the margins throughout, and the names of characters pp.168–181. Original limp vellum by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Fine, faint spotting to endpapers and fore-edge. Hammersmith, Doves Press. September 1916. Tidcombe DP38.
Cobden-Sanderson (Thomas James). Catalogue Raisonné.
One of 150 copies on paper, along with 10 copies on vellum. Small 4to., 17x24cm. pp.[1–3] 4–96. Engraved frontispiece. Section titles printed in red throughout with initials, along with page number on p.15, and section titles and numbers in the margins. Original quarter vellum over blue paper boards by the Doves Bindery, spine lettered in gilt. Very good, bottom of spine slightly bumped, sporadic spotting especially noticeable on pp.40–45 and pp.58–60. Hammersmith, Doves Press. March 1917. Tidcombe DP39.

Ephemera

The collection also includes five of the nine printed versions of correspondence between Cobden-Sanderson and three journals, The Times, The Westminster Gazette, and The Athenaeum. They were sent gratis to subscribers, and are all in their original plain brown printed wrappers
Shakespeare Punctuation.
A Letter addressed to the Editor of “The Times”. 1911. Tidcombe DPL3.
On a Passage in Julius Caesar.
A Letter addressed to the Editor of “The Times”. 1913. Tidcombe DPL4
The new Science Museum.
A Letter, with additions, addressed to the Editor of “The Times”.
 1913. Tidcombe DPL 6.
Notes on a Passage in Shelley’s Ode to Liberty. 1914. Tidcombe DPL 7.
Wordsworth’s Cosmic Poetry. 1914. [N.B. This contains One of the very few misprints in the oeuvre of the Press. Sadly it is not the word “comic” for “cosmic”, which would have amused this cataloguer, but the printing of the date 1914 as 1814. Tidombe DPL 8.

Books bound by Lyndon Lang, daughter of William Lang
Tennyson (Alfred Lord). The Works of Alfred Lord Tennyson.

8vo., 13×19.5cm. Full red goatskin, upper and lower covers with floral gilt dentelle border of curved rules, roses and three leaf patterns, upper cover with title lettered in gilt, spine with five raised bands, double gilt ruled panels filled with gilt dots, curved rules, rose and three leaf patterns, date lettered in gilt at tail, double gilt ruled turn-ins, lower turn-in signed
‘L.L.’ and dated 1903. London, Macmillan and Co. 1902.
Stevenson (R. A. M.) Velasquez.
8vo., 13×19.5cm. Full brown goatskin, upper and lower covers with single gilt rule border and a panel formed of straight gilt rules with circles at each corner of leaf-like shapes of green onlay outlined in gilt, spine with five raised bands and double gilt ruled panels with similar leaf patterns in green onlay at each corner, title and date lettered in gilt, turn-ins with double gilt rules and leaf patterns in green onlay at each corner, upper turn-in lettered ‘W.L’ in gilt at tail, lower turn in lettered ‘L.L’ in gilt and dated 1903. London, George Bell & Sons. 1902.
The ‘W.L’ lettering at the tail of the upper turn-in suggests this binding was made by Lyndon Lang for her father, William.
Kipling (Rudyard). The Seven Seas.
8vo., 12x16cm. Later binding by Lyndon Lang in full black goatskin, upper and lower covers with single gilt rule surrounded repeating hexagonal grid of gilt rules forming a honeycomb pattern with gilt dots at each corner, each hexagon filled with a gold tool of either three leaf clover or rose, spine with five raised bands and gilt panels in the style of the hexagonal cover pattern, titled and dated in gilt, turn-ins with double gilt rules, upper turn-in lettered ‘W.M’ in gilt at tail, lower turn in signed ‘L.L.’ in gilt and dated 1903. Leipzig, Tauchnitz. 1897.
The ‘W.M’ lettering on the upper turn-in suggests that this book was bound by Lyndon Lang for her father, William.
Fitzgerald (Edward). Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.
8vo., 13.5x20cm. Full red goatskin, upper and lower boards with single gilt rule border, spine with gilt panels, title lettered in gilt and two raised bands, double gilt rules on turn-ins and signed ‘L.L.’ in gilt on lower turn-in, undated. London, De La More Press. 1920.

1 In Shaw’s introduction to Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant, in which he refers to an evening with his friend an eye doctor. Lang is identified as that doctor, in Shaw’s inscription in Lang’s copy, sold at auction.
2 Hodgsons, Feb 28
3 Letter to S.C. Cockerell. Published in Friends of a Lifetime London, 1940.
4 Letter from S.C. Cockerell. Published in Friends of a Lifetime London, 1940.
5 T.J. Cobden-Sanderson, Note on the Doves Press as printed in the first Doves Press Catalogue Raisonné, 1908.
6 Franklin, The Private Presses.2nd edition, Scolar Press 1991.
7 J.H. Mason. J.H. Mason. R.D.I. A selection form the Notebooks of a scholar-printer.

Mar 062017
 

Awesome! It [and past catalogues] can be found here. Enjoy. Hope to see you there.

Ernest J. Stevens, “Chromotheraphy charts”

Aug 012016
 

If you didn’t catch the catalog releases in June for RBMS, we are listed for July’s latest rare book catalog releases [Scroll down to Lux Mentis]: http://www.abaa.org/blog/post/rare-book-catalogs-July-2016

Show some love to ABAA and the New Antiquarian blog!

The New Antiquarian blog logo

Apr 212016
 

book-of-eli-quote

Part of the experience of a book fair, and not one overly discussed for a reason, are the partnerships and the collaborative aspects of the book trade. You don’t necessarily have to go at this alone. Your comrades have your back (or your spine, [excruciating pun intended]) which plays out when scouting or acquiring other material to add to the overall inventory.  How many times have you heard, “Oh, X, would love/need this!?” If you are willing and able, then serendipity has its moments, in addition to critical partnerships.

It was excellent for me to work along side Brian Cassidy, veteran bookseller and long-time Lux Mentis booth partner; Michael Laird, newly discovered witchcraft buddy; book goddess, Kara Accettola; the adorable and sharp, Jonathan Kearns; and equally as adorable and bright, Simon Beattie. I would also like to recognize, the entire Pirages team [good lord, ya’ll need a drink], Ken Sanders and Travis Low [horns up], Fuchsia Voremberg [hugs], Tom Congalton, and Ashley Wildes. I think Ashley encompasses the entire fair sentiment in one image:

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas.

Ashley diffuses the situation with mermaid-like qualities, as Kim wishes Ian to contract mind fleas. [Note: drinks handled with appropriate care] [Addendum from Ian: This image amuses me in so very, very many ways. Adore you both.]

It would be remiss to not recognize some of the book artists and book binders, very important, as representing strong work is a pleasure and a privilege. Both Colin Urbina and Erin Fletcher make overwhelmingly inspiring work, glad to have them in both physical form and function appearing in New York; Michael Kuch, again mind-blowing work; Peter Bogardus; Russell Maret, exceptional new work; Nancy Loeber, representing both fairs [shadow fair]; Christina Amato; Leslie Gerry; Mindy Belloff; María Verónica San Martín; Peter Koch; newly acquired book artist Alexandra Janezic; and of course, the dynamic duo of Marshall Weber and Felice Tebbe at Booklyn. [Do I sound like a broken record or an Oscar speech? geez.]

So, what’s next? Fortunately, we were able to jump over to the “shadow” shows both uptown and across the street to visit both book artists and snap up some “brutally cool” items for down the road to make appearances in iterations of catalog lists forthcoming.  What did strike our fancy this year? A selection of things that caught our eye:

 

Apr 182016
 

Like my comrade, the illustrious scribe of Bibliodeviant, I will also traipse through a serial recount of *my* first New York ABAA Book Fair in a similar fashion and how the sideshow, that is Lux Mentis, embellishes the landscape of the book trade and book collecting like the carnival we seem to entertain. Inspired, though by the words of Mr. Kearns, I would like to address the idea of bookselling as identity and image briefly.

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Girl, get a grip

After working over 20 years in library land and visual arts culture, I’ve worn several hats. However, not just one will underscore my identity, which to some I apparently wear openly and ripe for criticism. We can model ourselves in such a way that the world might fantasize about librarians in that perverse and/or cryptic and ‘monkish’ kind of way, or we can shine bright like a diamond* with a freak flag of superb owning up to our singular individuality, our own individual prowess to flourish and thrive in this profession.

tumblr_lvkaagiufj1r6msmho1_500-1

Basically, the same perception applies to hungry, curious, and experienced visitors at your book fair booth, in your house, your library, your bookshops. You never know what they might bring to the table. Same goes for your fellow booksellers. So, regardless if you have marked skin, blue hair, fancy tweeds, tortoise shell glasses or honest awkwardness, we corral a fierce sense of advocacy for printed and written matter that gives these manifestations of glory multi-generational lives that are passed through a series of hands, hearts, and minds. We have the opportunity to support and create libraries, research, passions, and histories for people, otherwise drowning in the mediocrity in the world. We will find success in those connections, rather than in a litany of judgment based on gender, appearance, and other personal identities.

I could further throw a tirade of shade*, but rather, let’s tunnel into the rabbit hole of New York. As others have mentioned, New York is on fire with grit and action, unlike any other metropolitan in the US, however like I mentioned in a previous blog, the city is a hotbed for bibliophilic intellectualism and performative ingenuity. The New York Antiquarian Book Fair is a force and now I know compared to the somewhat laissez-faire attitude of California (as least Pasadena), I understand why it operates as such. The Park Armory building is a gorgeous architectural example of late 19th century Gothic revival design suitably fitting to encase a labyrinthine maze of booksellers. I felt sort of enveloped in a skeletal shell, ironically housing the biblio-madness for the next few days.

Before set-up started on Wednesday, I can’t slide by without saluting a few notable events and people. Through a blizzard (ha!), we made our way through the quiet snow of Massachusetts to the insanely talented home of Michael Kuch, artist, to pick up the latest iteration of work debuting at the fair [images to follow]. We also lavished in the presence of Marvin Taylor and Charlotte Priddle at the Fales Library & Special Collections, NYU where I pawed around the stacks a bit, as well. Lastly, I would be lying if I wasn’t fidgeting like a 3 year old needing to pee, because I was able to see the Mystery and Benevolence exhibit at the American Folk Art Museum. Get your secret handshake on.

To be continued…[Next up, witness me!*]

*If any of you get my pop culture references, you are Gucci. Yes, I am a metalhead who listens to Ri-Ri.

Apr 172016
 

We are pleased to offer a (reasonably) brief tour of our booth at the 2015 ABAA book fair. It was a great weekend (report and images to follow).

Apr 052016
 

The epic romance continues between the two American coasts, as the beginning of the year jumps in two major ABAA Book Fairs… the California Antiquarian Book Fair (February) and the equally as engaging and immense, the New York Antiquarian Book Fair [April]. Each fair having their own peculiarities, personalities and local fanfare, and honestly, not without their own biases.

West Coast

The California fair flips between their estranged cousins of North and South hosts; this year held inland Los Angeles, more specific a sparkling bright and colorful, Pasadena. Mind you, east coast or rather booksellers coming from anywhere else outside of Southern California almost know they are escaping frigid temperatures from their homes, this year was unseasonably hot with days reaching the upward 90s. Take care, so the books don’t sweat.

It is always within the scope of the best vice and virtue, so to speak, to bring out the “sexy.” Lux Mentis never shy to vice and more vice, taunts the sensibilities with color, format, and content with a moderate collection of items that fall under the “Sex, Death, and the Devil” tease. Partly to challenge the normalized sense of the book and partly to possibly offend a casual buyer who just might be tempted enough leave their morals at home.

Sex, Death, and the Devil

Sex, Death, and the Devil

This year saw the debut of two major collections of material both very California and both very seething with equal parts naughty and “nice.”

The Daved Marsh Surfing Collection, a multi-faceted collection of books, magazines, pulps, and other ephemera, is a wild trip down the last several decades of surf history, but more so to capture the sleazy and exploitative end to surf culture. Daved Marsh, a surf bibliographer, first Gen SF punk, and rare book cataloger, coined the term “surfsploitation” to describe the lascivious, tongue-in-cheek, and racy nature of surf culture as seen through both mass and underground media. A visually compelling and downright dirty collection, it was a pleasure to have a snippet of material on view, and subsequently the collection found a new placement, ironically on the East Coast!

Daved Marsh Surfing Collection [top shelf]

Daved Marsh Surfing Collection [top shelf]

Sorry, New York, but the West Coast represents a massive chunk of the punk scene beginning in the late 70s too! Also featured in California fair were bits of the SST Records Collection and the art of renowned punk artist Raymond Pettibon. SST Records, the brainchild of Black Flag guitarist, Greg Ginn, boasts not just punk ephemera, like punk show fliers, but correspondence from the administrative end of the operation, zines, and even a Henry Rollins poseable action figure! Lux Mentis displayed the highly collectible and just plain damn awesome, original Raymond Pettibon artwork, but also an original handwritten letter from Gordon Gano of the Violent Femmes, discussing the album and included lyrics. 40 years of punk this year, and we still can’t quit it.

Raymond Pettibon, "Black Flag - My War" SST Records

Raymond Pettibon, “Black Flag – My War” SST Records

The satellite book fair, the LA Art Book Fair, was held downtown in Little Tokyo district; and without a doubt, the opening night was not a sight “untypical” of Los Angeles. The very hip and overly stylized gamut of young socialites grazed the scene. At one point, most tables saw bodies three deep. There were a couple of largely popular and personal favorites representing the fair, Printed Matter (the organizers), Division Leap, and the wildly adorable and politically poignant, Booklyn. We ended up snatching up a few dirty bits, as usual, but also chatted with our friend, Jenny Lens, prominent Los Angeles photographer and artist of the original LA punk scene.

Gay Pulp paperback collection

Gay Pulp paperback collection

Also quite digestible this year, are the fine selections of artist’s books and fine press publications that many of the Southern California academic libraries acquired for their collections. Special collections libraries at major universities in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego maintain hugely representative and well-developed artist’s book collections, as always it is hugely delightful to pander to the collecting missions of these selective libraries. One of the major goals now and into the future is to support and advocate for emerging book art talent across the country. It would be my personal goal, also, to be a strong advocate for emerging book artists of color and queer and trans-identified book artists, so that their work is represented in library collections.

East Coast

In some ways, it is a nice swap to talk about the New York fair in the future tense, just so everyone can get a whiff of what’s to come. New York is an uncompromising city, no doubt. However, in its small geographic metropolis, the city demands a major chunk of bibliographic and artistic liberties. We hope to envelope ourselves in the energy and intellect of New York’s prolific institutions and sharp book collectors.

To continue the saga of our highly tragic theme, more sex will available for our daring clientele, but also a twist on the devil with some occult thrown in the mix, with a nice glaze of death, death, and more death. A personal favorite of mine, death is a transgressive topic of interest this year, as we are seeing more dialogue surrounding “end of life” transgression, as well as, the fashionable Victorian morbidity culture.

It is on more than one occasion, onlookers say, “you have the best booth” and without tooting our horn *too* much, although there is something to be said for pushing the envelope by challenging the notion of “antiquarian,” “rare,” and even the book format. Collecting and developing collections is by no means regulated to just “old brown books” and certainly by example, content and context play into scarcity as much as edition and age. With that in mind, for you curious creatures, here are some selections of newly acquired material and other provocative items to taunt you with for the New York Antiquarian Fair this week (Booth B-21). [Not responsible for faint of heart, nor coddling of weak-minded morality].

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