Wednesday, June 13, 2018

359. Ricketts's Design of Oscar Wilde's Poems (1892) (6)

Summer. Sitting in the garden. Browsing the internet, looking for nothing in particular. Finding myself on the site of British Library, which is a wonderful treasure trove.

I read a post about Oscar Wilde's 1892 volume of Poems, which I have been discussing several weeks ago. I know I have promised to continue the series, and I will. However, today, I will limit myself to correct a small and sympathetic error.


Oscar Wilde,
Poems
(1892)
[British Library]
The blogpost 'Poems by Oscar Wilde' contains four images of the book, a copy that came from the collection of Donald and Mary Hyde and was given to the British Library as the Lady Eccles Oscar Wilde Collection (shelfmark: Eccles 254).

The short commentary accompanying the splendid images of copy No. 18 contain one rather regrettable error. The design of the book is not ascribed to Ricketts, but to his rival (in a sense) Aubrey Beardsley:

Although Oscar Wilde is best known for his plays and novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), he also published poetry. This gilded volume from 1892 is beautifully designed by Aubrey Beardsley, who would later produce the illustrations to Wilde's Salomé (1891). It is number 18 from a limited edition of 220 copies, and is signed by Wilde himself facing the title page.

Please, delete the sentence about Beardsley and Salomé and insert a phrase about the design of The Picture of Dorian Gray that was also by Ricketts. And yes, the design is quite beautiful even if Beardsley cannot be credited with it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

358. The Book Collector John Morgan (2)

The Aberdeen book collector John Morgan wrote a memoir of his life that includes paragraphs on book hunting, reading, and his favourite authors.


'Death of Mr John Morgan, Builder'
(Aberdeen Daily Journal, 4 July 1907)
The obituary in the Aberdeen Daily Journal of 4 July 1907 remembers his passion for the works of John Ruskin and Thomas Carlyle, and recalls that of all the interesting letters that Morgan received from Ruskin, three were published in a privately printed book: Letters from John Ruskin to Frederick Furnivall [...] and Other Correspondents (1897), published by the now notorious T.J. Wise, another correspondent of John Morgan.

Morgan wrote about his collection of Wise's publications:

He has issued a series of privately printed books under the name of the Ashley Library, the issue of each being restricted to about thirty copies, four or five of which are generally printed on vellum. At an early stage Mr. Wise invited me to become one of his subscribers, and as a result, I have an almost complete set of his dainty little books, which are rising in value year by year.
During the summer of 1897, Mr. Wise paid his first visit to Scotland, when he stayed several days in Aberdeen, and examined my collection, and expressed his admiration of the order and arrangement of my Library.
(Memoirs, p. 247)

The Ashley Library was called after the road where Wise lived in London. Morgan and Wise made a trip to Deeside, and visited Ballater, Balmoral, and Braemer. The visit was returned once, when Morgan went to Wise's house at Crouch End,

going over his treasures, literary and bibliographical, which were many and varied. He had an unique collection of first editions and manuscripts of the chief Victorian Poets, several of them being inscribed presentation copies. One item of pathetic interest, being the M.S.S. Volume of Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poems, exhumed from his wife's coffin.
(Memoirs, p. 248)


The Ashley Library (c. 1909) [from: The Bibliophile (March 1909)
Wise (1859-1937), with Henry Buxton Forman, had been forging pamphlets that fraudulently bore earlier dates than the known editions. These were sold to collectors like John Morgan, who possessed several of these on vellum. Morgan didn't live to see Wise being exposed as a fraud.

Wise mentioned Morgan in relation to one of his fraudulent publications, Robert Burns, a poem by A.C. Swinburne that was said to be issued for the members of the Burns Centenary Club in 1896. Much later, Wise wrote in his Swinburne bibliography:

The Burns Centenary Club was initiated by John Morgan of Aberdeen in collaboration with Harry Buxton Forman C.B. for the purposes of recognising in a suitable manner the centenary of the Scottish National poet.
(From: A Sequel to An Enquiry into the Nature of Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets by John Carter and Graham Pollard. The Forgeries of H. Buxton Forman & T.J. Wise Re-Examined by Nicolas Barker & John Collins, 1983, p. 236)

Barker & Collins conclude that the Club 'is probably a fiction'. They must be right. If Morgan had initiated such a club, and it involved Wise who he revered as a bibliophile and connoisseur, he certainly would have mentioned the Club in his memoirs, which he didn't.

Rather than buying books from catalogues, dealers, or other collectors, Morgan's most pleasurable way of getting books, was finding them in shops or market places.

As to Book-Hunting, it is wonderful what prizes one may get, if always on the alert. In a search round the Aberdeen Market Gallery one winter evening in 1883, I came on a nice clean copy of William Allingham's Poems, with an autograph inscription from the author to Thomas Woolner the Poet & Sculptor. Surmising from the look of it, that the volume had been stolen, or carelessly led astray, I bought it from the stall-keeper, and returned it to the rightful owner. 

Woolner answered that he was very pleased to have it back, and that the book must have

slipped in accidentally with some others that were being cleared out [...]
(Memoirs, p. 249)

D.G. Rossetti, portrait of Thomas Woolner
Woolner also sent him an inscribed presentation copy of Pygmalion (1881). Morgan owned several other dedication copies related to the Pre-Raphaelite movement, such as dedication copies by Alfred and Emily Tennyson, gift inscriptions by Robert Browning, and autographs by the artist Holman Hunt. But he also collected older books, such as a 1567 quarto from the library of Richard Poole that he found of interest for its 'good deal of scribbling by former owners' (Memoirs, p. 252), and, when he went to live in his new house, Rubislaw, he not only incorporated several stones from the old house that had to be demolished, but also tried to acquire books from its former library:

I had not been many years in the new house of Rublislaw, before I could show at least three volumes, that had been at one time in the Library of the Old House, Viz.- an early copy of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, with the autograph of George Skene, a grand uncle of W.F. Skene, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, to whom I sent the book for verification, and his letter is now preserved in the volume, thus linking the past with the present.
(Memoirs, pp. 252-253)


George Skeene (1619-1707)
One of these volumes was acquired for him by a friend during a visit to Holland. 

Morgan bought books and periodicals on book collecting, and corresponded with the authors of books and articles on the subject, such as Alexander Ireland, whose The Book-Lover's Enchiridion (1883) he possessed. He visited personal libraries, such as that of Lord and Lady Aberdeen at Haddo, where the group he was part of 'signed our names in the Visitor's book in the library' (Memoirs, p. 256). At that visit, he met Mary Carlyle Aitken with whom he had corresponded before. Later, he was given 'a very much corrected proof of a page of the History of Friedrich the Great' by a mutual friend, this proof being from his hero Carlyle: 'another link of association with the greatest thinker, and writer, of his age' (Memoirs, p. 257).

Morgan possessed full runs of The Kelmscott and Vale Press books, including the Kelmscott Chaucer, and as we have seen, he commissioned special bindings designed by Ricketts for some of the Vale Press books. Apart from the two Keats volumes (see blog 356), Ricketts also designed a special binding for his VP edition of The Passionate Pilgrim, Songs in Shakespeare's Plays (1896), and The Excellent Narration of the Marriage of Cupide and Psyches (1897), and the latter contains an inscription about the costs:

Book £ 1 . 5 . 0
Binding “3 . 13 . 6
£ 4 . 18 . 6
JM

So, the cost of binding was thrice the price of the book. From the auction catalogue we can conclude that, although he was interested in rare books printed on vellum, Morgan didn't acquire any of the vellum copies of Vale Press books, but was content with the paper copies.

[Thanks are due to David Oswald, Local Studies Librarian, Library and Information Services, Early Intervention and Community Empowerment, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeen Central Library].

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

357. The Book Collector John Morgan (1)

Last week I wrote about the book collector John Morgan from Aberdeen (356. Vale Press Keats Edition in a Deluxe Binding). Local articles about him, and a personal memoir kept in the Aberdeen Central Library provide more news on his collecting activities.

Local historians have written about John Morgan, who was active as a contractor and builder, and worked with outstanding architects to create most of Aberdeen's late nineteenth-century landmarks, well-known for their ample display of light grey granite. Notable are two articles by Deirdre Grant in the Leopard Magazine (in 1981 and 1982). These contain images of domestic and public buildings, and of John Morgan, his wife Matilda, and their daughters Elizabeth and Matilda.



Matilda Murray, Elizabeth, Matilda (daughter) and John Morgan (1896)
[copyright photo not ascertained]
His position as the region's largest contractor is marked by his membership of councils and boards of - among many others that are related to the world of building, finance and transport - the Art Gallery Committee, the Aberdeen University Press, and the Public Library Committee. He frequently donated books and archival materials to the city of Aberdeen.

His book collection counted in the thousands of volumes and must have taken up quite some bookcases, or even rooms. However, Deirdre Grant writes:


Wandering about the house one wonders where Morgan's vast library of books was kept as there is no evidence of a library.


His obituary, in the Aberdeen Daily Journal (4 July 1907) insists, however, that a library was part of the building:


Mr. Morgan was a man of highly cultured tastes, which found their chief expression in the house he built in Queen's Road some twenty years ago (on the site of old Rubislaw House, the family residence of the Skenes of Rubislaw) and in the library which was lodged there. 


There were so many books, some of local interest, and others of (inter)national interest, that before the 1908 Sotheby's auction of private press books, a first auction in December 1907 was organised in Aberdeen by John Milne (I haven't seen the catalogue of that auction yet). He advertised 1060 lots, and according to Deirdre Grant the auction contained:


a wide range of titles on history, art, poetry, sculpture, architecture, and a massive local collection, many of which would be difficult to find today.


And:

There were also 94 lots of etchings, photos, drawings in ink, pen and chalk and photogravures. Alongside watercolours by John Ruskin, James Giles and Walter Crane, are pen and ink sketches by Pirie.



Bookplate for John Morgan (1894)
Morgan had several bookplates, one of which depicts his gothic house that was built in 1887. Another one with a close-up of the turret is dated 1894. He not only pasted these in his books by Ruskin, Carlyle and in copies of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, he also traded them with fellow bookplate collectors. In 1889 a new bookplate, designed by Charles Ricketts, was on display at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition in London, and the Journal of the Ex Libris Society (October 1899) devoted a paragraph to it and published an image:

Mr. John Morgan, of Rubislaw House, Aberdeen, has kindly lent us the block of his new architectural book-plate, designed and executed by Mr. Charles Ricketts. The treatment is allegorical and mediaeval, and is in itself sufficiently explanatory. As Mr. Morgan is an architect and surveyor, the design is particularly appropriate, and the artist has well carried out the owner's ideas. We may add that previous book-plates of Mr. Morgan's have been architectural in their design, representing in artistic style the owner's residence. We have no doubt that Mr. Morgan will be pleased to send copies of this plate to any of our member's who may desire to possess it - of course for a fair exchange.

Charles Ricketts, bookplate for John Morgan (1899)
The drawing by Ricketts was transferred to the block by Bernard Sleigh, whose initials ' B.S. sc.' appear in the lower right corner. Ricketts's own initials can be seen on a role of paper on the scaffold (bottom left hand corner).

Morgan's memoirs - of which a typescript version is kept by the Aberdeen Central Library - contains no information about his contacts with Ricketts, or the other private press figures  such as William Morris. Instead, Morgan's focus is on the generation before them, and he may have collected the books of the Kelmscott and Vale Presses as artistic examples of the work of John Ruskin's followers. He was a great devotee of Ruskin and the American 'sage' (as he called him) Carlyle. 

The memoirs give inside stories of a book collector, who, for example misses buying the first Edinburgh edition of Burn's poems, 'which was in excellent order, uncut, and in the original binding, and contained many caustic criticisms of the poets sentiments, which were the direct antithesis of the Doctor's', and after he traced the buyer, a 'local dealer', he was shocked: 'horror of horrors the philistine had cleared out the doctor's notes and had cut down the book to the quick, and adorned it with an ugly vulgar modern binding' (Memoirs, p. 34).

The doctor, along with other book-lovers he met in his early career, set him on the bibliophile's trail, even though, as a young apprentice he couldn't afford a copy of Ruskin's The Stones of Venice, but in his memoirs he says:

I have now the finest collection of the works of the Master in Scotland, containing the privately printed "Poems by J.R. 1850", and almost every one of the rare privately printed pamphlets [...]'. 
(Memoirs, p. 151).

These issues - annotated or exclusive copies and completeness of the collection - were part of the book-game, as was:

I have been a Book-lover all my life, and one of my chief pleasures has been the collection, arrangement, and study of my books. This hobby has pleasures unknown to the uninitiated, the perusal of the dealers catalogues, is a constant source of amusement and instruction. The turning over of the varied contents of 2d, 4d and 6d boxes is an exciting occupation, as one never knowns what price may not turn up, although thanks to the spread of knowledge, in matters bibliographical, the chances of these finds are day by day less.
(Memoirs, p. 246).

A collector and his antiquarian book dealers perform financial and intellectual rituals:

A Collector soon gets known to those whose business it is to cater for him and it is simply wonderful how soon these jackals discover your peculiar tastes, and weaknesses. They not only send you their regular catalogues month by month, and year by year, but special reports of all that they imagine may be of interest to you, and sometimes they are comically wide of your mark.
(Memoirs, p. 246)

But it may have been a book dealer that led him astray, and turned him into one of the major collectors of private press books in the 1890s.

[My little series on Wilde's Poems will be continued soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

356. Vale Press Keats Edition in a Deluxe Binding

Catalogue 40, issued by Nudelman Rare Books from Seattle, lists some fine Ricketts related items, the most attractive one being the Vale Press edition of Keats in a unique binding designed by Ricketts. (Ed Nudelman kindly send me some images for this blog.)

The Poems of John Keats (London, Hacon & Ricketts [Vale Press], 1898):
binding designed by Charles Ricketts
 
This kind of binding was designed by Ricketts during the late 1890s and early 1900s especially for Vale Press books (and some Kelmscott books as well) at the request of contemporary collectors. One may remember the series of bindings he designed for Laurence Hodson (see blogs no. 96111, 112, and others).

This copy of The Poems of John Keats (1898) is bound in full crimson leather (probably sheepskin), and stamped in gilt with a design of panels, lines, dots, circles, hearts, and leaves. The bindings bear the signature 'HR' on the tail turn-in of the back board. 'HR' stands for Hacon & Ricketts, the official name of the publishing venture that we also know as The Vale Press.


The Poems of John Keats (London, Hacon & Ricketts [Vale Press], 1898):
binding designed by Charles Ricketts
The books are printed on paper (there was also a small number printed on vellum). These specially commissioned bindings for Vale Press books were manufactured by bookbinders in London, initially Riviere and Sons, and later Zaehnsdorf. These firms didn't sign the bindings. 


The Poems of John Keats (London, Hacon & Ricketts [Vale Press], 1898):
binding designed by Charles Ricketts
The spine of the Keats set on review has five raised bands, and six panels, of which the first contains the title. 

These two volumes have an interesting provenance. There are two bookplates. However, it is possible to trace three former owners.


Max Kirdorf


The older bookplate is from a German collector, Max Kirdorf.


Bookplate of Max Kirdorf
Max Kirdorf was born in Rothe Erde (near Aachen) on 4 June 1878; he died in Burtscheid on 7 June 1923. He was an iron and steel engineer who married into the Suermondt family that stood at the basis of the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen. His wife was Adele Caroline Luise Suermondt (1882-1958). Part of Kirdorf's collection ended up in the library of the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum. This concerned his illustrated books and, more importantly, his print collection that included series of etchings by Piranesi and Goya.

Kirdorf was co-founder - with Ernst Birkner - of one Germany's first private presses, the Eginhard-Presse located in Aachen. It published books without illustrations along the lines of 'pure typography'. Birkner,a book designer and professor at the applied art school, continued the private press after Kirdorf died in 1923. 

Max Kirdorf's international collection of private press books was sold in 1929 by the Munich firm of Emil Hirsch. The catalogue Bibliothek Max Kirdorf contained a description of the Keats edition (page 33, number 352): 'Org.-Maroquin mit reicher Linien- u. Blattvergoldg., Goldschn., entwurfen von Hacon u. Ricketts', and: 'Die prächtigen Einbände signiert "H R".'

(This catalogue is available full text on the website of the University of Heidelberg.)

Curt von Faber du Faur


The second bookplate is that of 
Curt and Emma von Faber du Faur (1890-1966). He was an author, collector, literary historian, curator of the Yale Collection of German Literature, and Yale faculty member.

Bookplate of Curt and Emma von Faber du Faur

Curt von Faber du Faur came from a distinguished military family in Germany, and was born in Stuttgart on 5 July 1890. He died on 10 January 1966. A lieutenant in the German army from 1909 to 1919, he was discharged because of illness. He studied History of Art and German Literature at Munich and Giessen, and his dissertation on a late fifteenth-century engraver (Der Hausbuchmeister) was published in 1921.

In the 1920s he met his future wife Emma Schabert in the circles of the German poet Stefan George. In 1923 he settled in Munich as an antiquarian bookseller with Georg Karl (1892-1975): Karl und Faber, now the firm of Hartung & Hartung. They also organised auctions for manuscripts, graphic art and paintings (from 1927 onwards). In 1931, Faber du Faur moved to Florence to live on a farm with olive trees, growing wheat, and grapes. He wrote some books of poetry, and articles for German newspapers.

In 1939, he emigrated to the United States, taking with him his vast collection of German baroque literature, which would form the basis of a groundbreaking bibliography. This collection, begun in 1912, became the property of Yale University in 1944.

The bookplate of Curt and Emma von Faber du Faur in the Keats edition testifies of his and his wife's international interests. Curt Faber (that's the name he used ordering a taxi) was an inspiring professor at Yale, versed in Italian, German, French, and English literature.



John Morgan


The binding was designed by Ricketts, but not for the owner whose name is on the first bookplate. The first owner of the book had several bookplates, but didn't paste one in these volumes (unless, of course, one of the later bookplates was pasted over his). 

But his monogram is given on the binding.


The Poems of John Keats (London, Hacon & Ricketts [Vale Press], 1898):
binding designed by Charles Ricketts

In some cases Ricketts had the initials of the collector placed on the front cover, and in other cases they appeared on the spine. One can see an 'M' below the title of the book on the spine.

Going back to the auction catalogue of Max Kirdorf's collection that contained an image of the binding, we can discern the same initial 'M' on the spine in the title panel.


Bibliothek MaxKirdorf (1929)

Ed Nudelman answered my query about the initial. I suggested that - while to the right the 'M' was visible - to the left a 'J.' would have been stamped, and Nudelman confirmed that the initials on the spine are 'J.M.'

JM is John Morgan, whose collection was sold by Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge on 25-26 March 1908: Catalogue of the Valuable Library of John Morgan. Lot 213 was the Vale Press Keats edition: 'red morocco extra, the sides tooled to a special design of panels and leaves, g.e.'. The book was acquired by antiquarian book dealer Edwards for
£2 19s.


John Morgan was the first owner. He was born in Kirkhill of Kennethmonth in Scotland on 2 July 1844, and he died in Aberdeen City on 3 July 1907, a year after his wife for 35 years Matilda Murray Morgan had been buried (1847-1906). Their daughter, Mathilda Morgan, outlived them (1880-1955). She died in 
Kincardine O'Neil, where Morgan had built a holiday home in 1890: Torphins, William Street, Woodcote. It was inspired by wooden Canadian bungalows near Toronto and Montreal that Morgan had visited on a trip to North America.


Morgan was a builder, who sat on the board of a granite manufacturing concern, and was a director of a brick company. He was responsible for some of the major buildings in his region, including the Guild Street Railway Building, the Central Library and the Northern Insurance Building. In 1887, he built Rubislaw House for himself, co-designed with architect John Pirie. See Canmore for an image of the building process. A plaque on his house commemorates him. (His typescript memoirs are in the Aberdeen Central Reference Library.)


Rubislaw House, Aberdeen
Morgan was a great bibliophile, collecting more than 4500 books, including a vast series of rare John Ruskin material. It was said of him that he not only possessed books, 'he also read them' (see Aberdeen, 1800-2000. A New History (2000), p. 386). He also collected bookplates, and asked artists to design one for him. Ricketts designed a bookplate for him in 1899. Apparently, the Keats volumes didn't carry his bookplate, but then, his initials were already given on the spine.

The two volumes of the Vale Press Keats edition were published in London, transported to Aberdeen, sold in London, acquired by a London book dealer, and subsequently included in a German collection, before they emigrated to the USA, where they can be purchased today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

355. A Ricketts Coffee Mug

You travel to Reims to see the cathedral, and in the shop you see the object that you always wanted to have. The Charles Ricketts coffee mug, showing one of Ricketts's stage designs for George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan.

Reims Cathedral Coffee Mug with illustration by Charles Ricketts

Or a similar mug with an anonymous image. Available in two sizes, both dishwasher and microwave safe.


Reims Cathedral mug: 'Can You any longer resist the call?'

Or not, and then, at home, you find a website that exhibits 56 Reims Cathedral Coffee Mugs. Sold by Fine Art America, and using images that can be found for free on the internet. 

Not a mug at all? One could also opt for a canvas print, poster, metal print, greeting card, phone case, duvet cover, shower curtain, beach towel, portable battery charger, yoga mat or a spiral notebook.

Anything else?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

354. Ricketts's Design of Oscar Wilde's Poems (1892) (5)

How was it, that the sheets of the unsold copies of the 1882 reprint of Oscar Wilde's Poems (originally published in 1881) survived until they could be used for the 1892 signed and limited edition that was issued by Mathews and Lane?

How many publishers stored these sheets? Were copies bound by them and delivered to the trade? Impossible to answer. Hold on, for a long and complex bibliographical - and biographical - tour.


Wilde's bibliographer Stuart Mason (C.S. Millard) traced most of the bibliographical facts about Wilde's books that we still have to rely on. Publisher's archives of David Bogue (the original publisher) or James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. (who sold the remaining sheets to Mathews and Lane) have not survived. But there is one letter by Oscar Wilde that explains the last stage of the transfer, while other sources shed light on what went on at the beginning.


What Mason knew

Mason didn't know about the part played by Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. He suggested that the sheets were handed over to Mathews and Lane by Chatto & Windus. He based this on a reference in the English Catalogue for 1881-1889 (see his Bibliography of Oscar Wilde, 1914, p. 316). This refers to The English Catalogue of Books. Vol. IV. January 1881 to December 1889 (London, Sampson Low, Marston & Company Limited, 1891, p. 618): 

[Wilde] (Oscar) […] Poems, post 8vo, 10s 6d [...] Chatto 1881. 


The English Catalogue of Books. Vol. IV. January 1881 to December 1889 (1891)
This reference induced Mason to conclude:

In August 1882 Bogue, the publisher, became bankrupt, his stock being taken over by Messrs. Chatto & Windus of Piccadilly. In the English Catalogue for 1881-1889, vol. iv, p. 618, Chatto is given as the publisher of Wilde’s Poems, though no copy was issued with the firm’s imprint.

What Mason couldn't have known

However, a letter by Oscar Wilde, undated, but postmarked 21 November 1891, proves the involvement of another publisher, James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co., Wilde's previous publisher (for IntentionsLord Arthur Savile’s Crime and Other Stories, and A House of Pomegranates). Wilde wrote his new publisher Elkin Mathews that he would ask Osgood, McIlvaine & Co to transfer the sheets of Poems to him, after he discussed the fee that Ricketts should receive for his design ('on its completion'):

This settled, I will ask Osgood & McIlvaine to hand you over the copies, and the book could be got out after the rush of Xmas books is over.

Why Osgood & McIlvaine would have possessed these sheets is another matter. Perhaps, they acquired them on behalf of Wilde who might have considered issuing a new edition of his poems with them. However, there is no archival material to support this suggestion. 

The American publisher James R. Osgood  did some business with David Bogue in the early 1880s.

This is why scholars such as James G. Nelson (and others after him) asserted that Osgood & McIlvaine acted as 'successors of the firm of David Bogue'. Legally, and chronologically, that cannot be corroborated, as Bogue went bankrupt in 1882, James R. Osgood in 1885, and Osgood, McIlvaine & Co came into existence in 1891. There is no continuity there. Another firm must have possessed the sheets of Wilde's Poems in the meantime, but it wasn't Chatto and Windus.

Why not Chatto & Windus?

The name of Chatto & Windus in the normally trustworthy English Catalogue was based on an error, going back to the first reference of Wilde's Poems at the time of its publication in July 1881. The English Catalogue acquired its data from the reliable, contemporary source The Publishers' Circular. In the list of 'Books published in Great Britain between July 1 and 15' in The Publishers' Circular of 15 July 1881 (p. 555) the new book, published by David Bogue, was erroneously ascribed to Chatto & Windus:

Wilde (O.)-Poems. Post 8vo. pp. 240, 10s. 6d. Chatto [3170

The Publishers' Circular (15 July 1881)
This was an uncommon mistake, and one that was copied by other trade periodicals, such as The Bookseller of 4 August 1881 (p. 703):

Wilde (O.) Poems. Post 8vo, pp. 240. Chatto & Windus ... [...] 10/6

The Bookseller (4 August 1881)
The typist added the name of Windus, but didn't correct the error. In the 'Alphabetical list of the principal publications for the month of July, 1881' the misguided information was given.

The Bookseller (4 August 1881)
The name of Chatto & Windus might have been correct, if they acted as distributor for David Bogue, whose firm was a small one, located at 3, St. Martin's Place in London, near Trafalgar Square. However, both book magazines, The Bookseller and The Publishers' Circular, published David Bogue's announcements under his own name, never mentioning the other firm in any case.

David Bogue didn't correct the error, or, his notice to that effect remained unpublished.

Who was David Bogue?

David Bogue (1852-1897) was the son of David Bogue (1807/8-1856), a bookseller and publisher. Bogue senior came from Scotland to London to work for Charles Tilt (1797-1861) at 86, Fleet Street. He became his partner in Tilt and Bogue (1841-1842), and continued the shop as David Bogue (1842-1856). His major star was George Cruishank, whose works he published, although some of these failed to sell. The shop was continued for a few years after his death in 1856, but by 1862 the stock had been taken over by several other publishers. (See Robert L. Patten's biography of David Bogue in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.)

David junior was too young to have seen his father at work as a bookseller or publisher, or even the shop, and how he started life as a bookseller and publisher is not known. In 1876, he operated as a publisher under the name of Hardwicke and Bogue, located at 192 Piccadilly, W., the former shop of the artist and publisher Robert Hardwicke (1822-1875). Bogue continued this business, and a 'Hardwicke and Bogue's List' appeared in The Times of 8 February 1877. It contained popular works on disparate subjects, such as Half-Hours with English Antiquities, and The Historical Development of Art. Until 1879, books under this imprint were being published.

In 1879 Bogue moved to 3, St. Martin's Place in London. A list of his books - 'Mr. David Bogue's List (late Hardwicke and Bogue)' - was published in The Times of 26 September 1879. It advertised books on wild flowers, ferns, sleep and sleeplessness, 'common mind troubles', and the like.

Why Oscar Wilde opted for David Bogue

Why would Oscar Wilde have approached David Bogue as a publisher for his book of poems?  There were not many literary works - but still a few - that appeared with David Bogue's name on the title page. Between 1879 and 1882, Hardwicke and Bogue and David Bogue published some works by Samuel Butler (1835-1902).

After Wilde had brought his book to Bogue, the poet Walt Whitman found that Trübner and Co didn't want to publish his Leaves of Grass in London. A friend of Whitman, Josiah Child, advised Bogue to him instead (letter from Walt Whitman to Josiah Child, 8 December 1881). His American publisher at the time, James R. Osgood, agreed, and on 14 December 1881, Whitman wrote to Bogue as his 'London agency & depository'. James R. Osgood may have been one of the creditors of David Bogue after his bankruptcy, and this might explain how Osgood got hold of the sheets of Wilde's book. If that is what happened.

However, the sheets were probably not transported to Boston where James R. Osgood's firm was located. Perhaps they were stored somewhere in London, with a colleague publisher, but it may be assumed that the unbound sheets were stored at the premises of the original printer of the book, the Chiswick Press, and left in the care of the printer. Osgood's firm went bankrupt in 1885. Osgood went to work for Harper's Magazine, and, later, in 1891, started the new business with Clarence McIlvaine: James R. Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. No continuity here, either.

Wilde's biographer Richard Ellmann, asserted that Wilde opted for David Bogue, because his Oxford friend Rennell Rodd (1848-1941) published a book of poems with Bogue:

Rodd had set him an example by publishing his first book of poems with a small house, David Bogue, and in April 1881 Wilde wrote to Bogue expressing a similar wish.
(Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde (1987, p. 131).

However, Wilde's books appeared early July 1881, while Rodd's book Songs in the South was announced to be 'Just published' in an advertisement dated 23 July 1881 (The Athenaeum, 23 July 1881, p. 124). So Rodd's book was published after Wilde's book had been issued.


The Athenaeum (23 July 1881)
Rodd's book was advertised in The Times of 30 August 1881, at the top of 'Mr. David Bogue's List', and was immediately followed by:

Crown 8vo., price 10s. 6d., printed on Dutch hand-made paper and
handsomely bound in parchment.
POEMS. By OSCAR WILDE. Second Edition.

Apart from chronology, there is the one surviving letter of Oscar Wilde to David Bogue to consider. It probably dates from May 1881, and is now in the collection of Newberry Library in Chicago. The letter doesn't mention Rodd's name, or any other intermediary. Wilde writes: 'Possibly my name requires no introduction.' He doesn't say why he wants his book to be published by Bogue, only: 'I am anxious to publish a volume of poems immediately, and should like to enter into a treaty with your house about it.' (The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, 2000, p. 110).

Famously, Wilde would edit and publish a new edition of Rodd's book - now with an introduction by himself - during his American tour: Rose Leaf and Apple Leaf (October 1882).

Bogue's advertisements for Oscar Wilde's Poems

Bogue's advertisements were not published in The Publishers' Circular, that was dominated by the large firms, such as Cassell & Co., Sampson Low, Marston, and Co., George Routledge and Sons, and Macmillan & Co. The Bookseller sometimes noticed his new publications, for example, J. Mortimer Graville's How to Make the Best of Life (The Bookseller, 4 July 1881).
The Bookseller (4 July 1881)
Bogue's advertisements did appear in the London Times and in The Athenaeum (possibly in other newspapers as well), not on a regular basis as the larger firms could afford, but occasionally. In 1881, the readers of The Athenaeum, could find advertisements of 'Mr. David Bogue's publications' in the issues of 8 January, 12 February, 18 June, 2 July, and 17 December 1881. The Athenaeum was one of the first to notice Wilde's book of poems in a page-long review, published on 23 July 1881. (The Lady's Pictorial of 9 July had published the earliest review.)


Review of Oscar Wilde's Poems in The Athenaeum (23 July 1881)
Advertisements for Wilde's Poems appeared in the issues of 2 July and 17 December 1881. The first announcement was made on 2 July.

The Athenaeum (2 July 1881)
The text indicated that the book was available:

Now ready, crown 8vo, price 10s. 6d.
POEMS. By Oscar Wilde.
Printed on Dutch Hand-made Paper and Handsomely Bound in Parchment.

A similar, smaller, advertisement appeared in The Times of 7 July 1881.

Interestingly, in The Athenaeum, Wilde's first book was announced as an aesthetic object, just like the 1892 edition would be. Hand-made paper, a vellum binding, and a premium segment price. The July advertisement lists 30 books, half of which are priced between one and five shillings, and nine were priced 10 shillings and 6 pence, or higher, up to 15 shillings. Wilde's Poems wasn't a cheap book. However, it sold rather well. On 17 December 1881, another advertisement by Bogue announced the 'Fourth Edition' as 'In the press.' Another book, also printed on Dutch hand-made paper and bound in parchment, Hamilton Aidé's Songs Without Music was to be had for a mere 6 shillings. (For relevant information on the price, and the publication contract signed by Bogue and Wilde, see Ian Small's introduction to The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde. Volume I, Poems and Poems in Prose, 2000, pp. xiv-xv.)

The Athenaeum (17 December 1881)
Meanwhile, the third edition had been announced as 'in the press' in The Publishers' Circular of 1 November 1881 (this would be repeated in the issue of 14 January 1882), and iThe Times of 27 September 1881, while the second edition, as quoted above, had been advertised earlier in The Times of 30 August. 

The Publishers' Circular (1 November 1881)
An advertisement in The Athenaeum of 20 May 1882 listed the 'Fourth Edition' of Poems among the books that had been published. 


The Athenaeum (20 May 1882)
David Bogue in 1882 and 1883

Alas for David Bogue, the year 1882 brought him bankruptcy, and his name started to appear in The London Gazette on a regular basis. The Gazette would be quoted every week in The Bookseller, warning booksellers not to get involved with publishers or booksellers whose business was dwindling, and to stimulate alertness when it came to one's debtors.

On 28 April 1882, The London Gazette informed the public that the 'Partnership' between David Bogue and Benjamin Constant Le Moussu was dissolved on 2 March. Bogue had been in business with Le Moussu under the name Le Moussu & Co. Le Moussu was a firm of 'etchers in relief, photo engravers and photolithographers', located at 317, Strand. Not much is known about the relation of Bogue and Le Moussu. They worked together on the Dramatic Notes. An Illustrated Yearbook of the London Stage, for which, it was stated, a 'new relief etching process' was used.

From The London Gazette, we learn that Bogue lived at 21, Taviton Street near Gordon Square in London.

On 4 August 1882, the Gazette mentioned that 'in the Matter of Proceedings for Liquidation by Arrangement or Composition with Creditors' a 'First General Meeting of the creditors' of David Bogue was summoned to take place at the offices of Lawrence, Plews, and Baker on 31 August. On 15 September a trustee was appointed, William Slingsby Ogle: 'All persons having in their possession any of the effects of the debtor must deliver them to the trustee, and all debts due to the debtor must be paid to the trustee.'

The Times of 1 August 1882 reported what was brought before Mr Registrar Murray: 'The debts were returned at £18,600, of which about £7,400 appeared to be secured, and the assets, inclusive of securities in the hands of creditors, were estimated at £18,000.' The Bookseller was more personal and wrote on 5 August: 'Mr. David Bogue, we regret to hear, has been compelled to present a petition for liquidation [...]'. The magazine informed the readers about the next stages of the liquidation as well.

A year later, on 27 April 1883, The London Gazette published a note by the trustee, asking all those 'who have not already proved their debts' to get into contact with him, else 'they will be excluded from the benefit of the Dividend proposed to be declared'. The dividend was settled on 12 July, and published in The London Gazette of 13 July 1883: 'First and Final Dividend of 3s. 1½d. in the pound'. By then, the stock including the unbound sheets of Wilde's Poems must have been sold, but to whom we cannot ascertain.

The London Gazette would list Bogue's name and that of his new trustee (Peter Paget) in several issues (9 October 1885, 5 March 1886, 23 April 1886, and 31 May 1889). From this, we learn that Bogue had left his original address and moved (an address that is also given by Philip A.H. Brown in his London Publishers and Printers c. 1800-1870 (1982); the move was announced in The Publishers' Circular of 15 November 1884.) In fact, two addresses are mentioned, the second one being to the south west of London:

27, King William-street, Strand, Middlesex, 
and Cobham, Surrey
(1885)

In 1886 the amount per pound was settled at '3s'. In 1889 the trustee was released from his duties.

The end of David Bogue

After his bankruptcy, Bogue continued his business, under the same name, and surely under the watchful eye of the trustee, at 3, St. Martin's Place. In the winter of 1882, a new magazine was launched by him: The Theatre (announced in The Publishers' Circular of 6 December 1882). On 1 May 1883 The Publishers' Circular informed the booksellers that the Antiquarian Magazine and Bibliographer 'now published by Mr. W. Reeves, 186 Fleet Street, will be published by Mr. David Bogue, St. Martin's Place, W.C.'

In the fall of 1883, the Aberdeen Weekly Journal (28 November) reported on the 'Magazines for December', and briefly discussed The Science Monthly that 'continues the excellent features of its first number'. In May 1884 another issue was reviewed in Trewman's Exeter Flying Post. It was published by David Bogue. In 1884 an issue of The Antiquarian Magazine, published by Bogue, was mentioned in the Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle (26 January).


Arthur Groge Hill, The Organ-Cases and Organs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1883)
Bogue continued to issue new books as well. In 1883 a sumptuous volume on The Organ-Cases and Organs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance by Arthur George Hill was published by Bogue - the second volume was to be privately printed for the author in 1891. Another imposing publication was announced in The Publishers' Circular for 6 December 1883, the Christmas issue: 'Mr. David Bogue announces a biographical sketch of Henry Irving by Austin Brereton, with seventeen full-page portraits by well-known artists, a volume which can scarcely fail to please the numberless friends of the great actor.' Among the artists was James McNeil Whistler, and apart from the imperial octavo edition, 'A few Large Paper copies, on Hand-made Paper, with Proofs of the Illustrations on India paper' were published at four guineas. 


The Publishers' Cicrcular (6 December 1883)
In 1884 his name appeared on the title page of J.M. Farrar's Mary Anderson (see The Publishers' Circular, 1 October 1884) and of Austin Brereton's Some Famous Hamlets (see The Sunday Times, 9 November 1884). Poetry continued to be an interest of the firm. Henry Davison's Poems appeared in 1884, and in 1885, Mark André Raffalovich's Tuberose and Meadow-Sweet was published by David Bogue. It is remarkable, that among the poetry publications of David Bogue, at least three names of prominent homosexuals figure: Wilde, Whitman, and Raffalovich.

Around the time that Raffalovich's book of 'uranian' poetry was published, the name of Bogue disappeared from sight. During the early nineties, no trace of him has been found. But his life ends dramatically, as the Daily Mail reported on 28 October 1897.

In the bulletin Bogue is called a 'London journalist', who 'was on the staff of the Daily Graphic'. Bogue had been travelling to Monte Carlo, and Paris, before he went to stay at the Royal Pavilion Hotel in Folkestone. There, 'the body of a well-dressed man was found on the beach at Folkestone on Tuesday morning'. He was drowned. That was on 26 October 1897, and Bogue must have been around 45 years.

Conclusion: What do we know?

We know that the sheets that were used for the 1892 edition of Wilde's Poems were handed to the publishers by Osgood McIlvaine & Co on the request of the author, Oscar Wilde.

We know that Chatto & Windus had nothing to do with it.

We know that the assets of David Bogue, including the unbound and unsold sheets of Poems were sold before the dividend was decided upon. We don't know to whom. 

What can be assumed? 

At the time of Bogue's bankruptcy, the sheets of the remaining copies of Poems were probably stored at the printer's. David Bogue wouldn't have stored unbound sheets, no publisher did (unless he had a print shop at his own premises).

The printer was the Chiswick Press, a firm that printed more books for David Bogue, including a book about organs of which the first volume was published by Bogue after his official bankruptcy, and the second volume was privately printed by the author ten years later. Both volumes were printed at the Chiswick Press. The Chiswick Press stored hundreds of parcels of sheets for publishers.

When Oscar Wilde found a new publisher in the early 1890s, and wanted to publish several books in a short period of time, Osgood, McIlvaine & Co was obliging. 

Wilde may have traced the leaves at the Chiswick Press, or the Chiswick Press may have discovered the sheets while doing an inventory, proposing to make money from them, and sold them to Wilde's new publisher. The last option seems, to me at least, the most probable - the reason being that Wilde's position had changed dramatically after the publication of The Picture of Dorian Gray

[Perhaps, a researcher could examine the papers of the Chiswick Press to find out if this can be right.]

In conclusion: the sheets were stored by the Chiswick Press, and transferred to Osgood, McIlvaine & Co, before they were used by the Bodley Head for the 1892 edition of Poems.