Wednesday, February 1, 2017

288. The 2017 Mark Samuels Lasner Collection Exhibition and Symposium

On Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18, 2017, the University of Delaware will host a symposium, Celebrating the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection: Rare Books and Manuscripts, Victorian Literature and Art

Mark Samuels Lasner has donated his collection of Victorian books to the University of Delaware Library where it has been on loan for quite some years. I visited Mark there in 2013 to see a few of the more than 9.000 books, prints and documents in his collection. See my two blogs about the visit (No. 82: A Visit to Delaware, and No. 83: The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection).

The Mark Samuels Lasner Collection,
University of Delaware Library
The collection focuses on British literature and art of the period 1850 to 1900, with an emphasis on the Pre-Raphaelites and on the writers and illustrators of the 1890s, and it contains numerous books designed by Ricketts, including signed and association copies, proofs, letters, as well as a great number of lithographs by Charles Shannon.

Mark is one of those all too rare collectors who share their treasures with researchers and with the general public, by allowing full access to the works; an impressive series of exhibitions have been on view, some accompanied by well designed catalogues. 

To pick just two items from his vast Ricketts and Shannon holdings is a challenge. My previous blogs contained illustrations of some of the more important items, such as an original drawing for Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx and a dedication copy of the Vale Press edition of The Life of Benvenuto Cellini. But there are many smaller and even ephemeral documents that contain not widely known facts.

Proof for Notice (Vale Press), 1900
One of those is a proof for a Vale Press Notice that was published after a fire destroyed part of the stock and archive at the Ballantyne Press at the end of 1899. This proof contains some corrections that have been carried out in the definitive version, but more importantly, it contains a date stamp of the printers'. Most of the announcements and prospectuses are difficult to date, and when I published my checklist of Vale Press works in 1996, the date of publication was a mild guess: 'Summer 1900'. The proof is dated '28/7/00', 28 July 1900.

Paul Verlaine. Three Drawings by Will Rothenstein (1897)

Another rarity is an art publication by Hacon & Ricketts: three lithographs by William Rothenstein: Paul Verlaine. Three Drawings (1897). The portfolio was issued in 25 copies, initialled in pencil by the artist, and issued in printed wrappers. The Samuels Lasner copy has been bound in green cloth (similar to the Ricketts and Shannon edition of Daphnis and Chloe). This is No. 6.

Portrait of Paul Verlaine (detail) in
Paul Verlaine. Three Drawings by Will Rothenstein (1897)

2017 Mark Samuels Lasner Collection Exhibition and Symposium

Victorian Passions: Stories from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, curated by Margaret D. Stetz, Mae and Robert Carter Professor of Women’s Studies and Professor of Humanities, is on view from 14 February to 3 June 2017, at the Special Collections Gallery, Morris Library.

A symposium, Celebrating the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection: Rare Books and Manuscripts, Victorian Literature and Art, will be held in the Reading Room, Morris Library, on 17 and 18 March. Keynote speaker is Elaine Showalter, Professor Emerita of English at Princeton University, and other speakers will include Mark Dimunation (Library of Congress), Barbara Heritage (Rare Book School, University of Virginia), Edward Maggs (Maggs Bros. Ltd., London), Joseph Bristow (UCLA), Linda K. Hughes (Texas Christian University), Margaretta S. Frederick (Delaware Art Museum), William S. Peterson (Emeritus, University of Maryland), David Taylor (UK historian and author), and Margaret D. Stetz (University of Delaware).

The symposium is free and open to the public, but registration is requested. See the conference website of the University of Delaware.