|Exhibition Poster, 'Aubrey Beardsley', 1966 (location: Victoria and Albert Museum, London)|
If a book was ascribed to Charles Ricketts its price increased, and more so than by an attribution to, let's say, Will Jenkins. Similarly, the names of Beardsley or Talwin Morris would generate more enthusiasm than that of Christopher Dean.
If a binding is not signed, an attribution to Ricketts needs documentation, and for that matter, even a signed binding can not do without additional evidence, which can sometimes be found in advertisements, or letters. Contracts and proofs, unfortunately, are rare.
Taylor himself ascribed a few books to Ricketts that have since been justly attributed to other artists, for example The Poetical Works of James Thomson.
|Cloth binding for The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley (1903)|
The attribution was picked up by Clare Warrack and Geoffrey Perkins, whose catalogues should be consulted by everyone interested in the 1890s, as they contain lots of unique items that have not been described elsewhere.
|Title page of The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley (1903)|
Fourteen years later, in their Catalogue Sixty-Nine (1988) another copy of The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley was offered as a Ricketts design.
Other dealers, collectors and libraries, did not mention Ricketts as the designer and usually no artist's name is connected to the book's design. A Bookman's Catalogue (about the Norman Colbeck collection, published in 1987), for example, does not mention a designer.
|Charles Ricketts's monogram CR on Poems, Dramatic and Lyrical (1893)|
On the title page of The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley another monogram can be discovered. There is a letter M between the crossing branches in the stylized floral figure.
|Detail of title page, The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley (1903)|
|Monogram 'M' on the binding of The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley (1903)|
Haslam mentions that he designed 'stamped cloth book covers for Dent, Duckworth, Service & Paton, Chapman & Hall, Kegan Paul, Blackie, Macmillan, and Black'. One of his monograms (Haslam illustrates two of them) is the simple 'M' that also figures on the binding and the title page of The Collected Poems of Lord de Tabley. Why his name went unmentioned in the book is not clear.