Wednesday, December 18, 2013

125. A new Charles Ricketts compilation

It is not every day that we can announce a new publication by Charles Ricketts, and strictly speaking, he is only indirectly responsible for the new book that has been issued by the Rivendale Press. Everything for Art: Selected Writings is a compilation of essays by the artist, that every scholar and eighteen-nineties enthusiast should acquire.
Dust-wrapper for Charles Ricketts, Everything for Art (2013)
The anthology includes published tracts on typography, reviews of exhibitions and art books, as well as memoirs of his friends and some pieces of original fiction, demonstrating the versatility of Ricketts, as a book designer, artist, writer, and critic.

The editor is Nicholas Frankel. The book is well produced, as are all books by the Rivendale Press, though I would have liked the colophon to state the typeface, the paper, and the number of copies printed. The publisher informed me that a 90gms Artic matt paper was selected; the type is Adobe Jenson. The book has, of course, not been issued as a paperback; the gatherings are bound in a brown cloth binding. The dust-wrapper shows four designs for initials that Ricketts did for his Vale Press books (now in The British Museum).

Spine of binding for Charles Ricketts, Everything for Art (2013)
I will quote from the texts in future blogs, because this book is of course an important contribution to Ricketts scholarship. Today, I will only say, that there are four sections and two appendices. 

The sections are: 'Writings on printing and book design', 'Writings on art', 'Memoirs and recollections', and 'Fiction'. The appendices unite two interviews from The Sketch and Bookselling, and an essay by Gleeson White on the work of Ricketts.

The readers of this blog will be pleased to see that the three essays on Egyptian art that I discovered a few years ago - they were not discussed before I blogged about them in November 2011 (see blog no. 16. Head in Obsidian) - have been included in full. Readers who do not have access to JSTOR can find the full text (not the images) in this new anthology.

I was surprised to see that Ricketts's essay on 'William Morris and His Influence on the Arts and Crafts' was selected for the 'Writings on Art' section when I would have expected this piece on book design to be in the first section that deals with this subject, and rightly so, because these articles helped shape Vale Press and other books.

I was also surprised to find no index in the book. We will have to compile that ourselves. We need a volunteer!

Starting next week, we will immerse ourselves in Ricketts's world by means of Nicholas Frankel's new selection of texts. Get yourself a copy, so that you can join the conversation!