Wednesday, September 29, 2021

531. Hand-Coloured by Miss Gloria Cardew (3)

There are not many articles in newspapers and magazines that pay attention to Gloria Cardew's work around 1900 and only one mentions her work for the Vale Press books. That she also coloured editions of the Kelmscott Press is mentioned in The Sketch, 28 December 1898, p. 368:

Miss Cardew has even been trusted by some fortunate possessors of Kelmscott editions with the task of colouring the designs and borders, and their confidence in her powers has been fully justified.

Label in books hand-coloured by Gloria Cardew


In the same year in The Contemporary Review (August 1898), Albert Louis Cotton mentioned copies of Vale Press books coloured by Gloria Cardew (the article was partly reprinted in The Academy Supplement of 6 August 1898):

In Miss Gloria Cardew, a young art student,a  colourist has recently appeared who is capable of doing charming work in this direction. [...] Miss Cardew’s efforts form one more attempt to revert to good individualistic handwork, as opposed to the mechanical methods of a time in which sixpenny magazines, crowded with process blocks, furnish the mental pabulum of millions. It is difficult to realise the effect of, say, one of the Vale books, with its initials and borders embellished with delicate tints, after the fashion of the ancient miniaturists. Among Miss Cardew’s triumphs must especially be noted Mr. F.S. Ellis’s “History of Reynard the Fox,” a metrical version of the old English translation, with its fifty woodcut engravings after Mr. Walter Crane. These last, when decorated in gold and colours, in the medieval style, almost place the volume on a level with the illuminated manuscripts which were the glory of the monks of old.


Unfortunately, no titles of Vale Press books that were coloured by Cardew were mentioned. In an article on Cardew for The IBIS Journal, Denis Collins wrote in 2014 that he was aware of three such Vale Press books. I listed them in my blog 202:


1.
Michael Drayton, Nimphidia and the Muses Elizium (November 1896).
The Drayton copy was described by Howard M. Nixon in his British Bookbindings presented by Kenneth H. Oldaker to the Chapter Library of Westminster Abbey (London, Maggs Bros, 1982), and is now in that library. It was purchased by Oldaker from the firm of Heywood Hill.

2.
William Blake, The Book of Thel, Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience (May 1897)
The Blake was offered for sale by Bromer Booksellers in Catalog 110. Five British Presses: Daniel, Eragny, Vale, Essex House, Gregynog. Select Stock and Recent Acquisitions (Boston, November 2001, No. 53).

3.
Michael Field, Fair Rosamund (May 1897).

To this short list can be added another shorter one of two Vale Press books. Both are special in their own way.

4.
The Sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney (March 1898).
This copy has the library ticket of 'Earlston Reading-Room and Circulating Library No. SH80'. It  also has a printed label with the text: 'The Illustrations in this Book were coloured by hand by Miss Gloria Cardew.' 
There is a (possibly unique?) handwritten inscription on one of the endleaves: 'The illustrations in this book were coloured by me Gloria Cardew April 1898. This copy was sold at auction in 2021: Rare Books, Manuscripts, Maps & Photographs. Edinburgh, Lyon & Turnbull, 24 February 2021, lot 199. Now in a private collection.

The Sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney (1898)
Hand-coloured by Gloria Cardew

5.
The Rowley Poems of Thomas Chatterton (June 1898).
Signed on inserted leave: 'Gloria Cardew'.
Owner's stamp of Helen Ladd Corbett.
This is one of eight copies on vellum, two volumes bound in one by Riviere & Son.
Offered for sale in Catalogue No. 8 (E-List), Recent Acquisitions (March 2020). Saint Louis Park, MN, USA, Under the Hill Books, Nolan Goodman, [17 March 2020], no. 10. Now in a private collection.

The Rowley Poems of Thomas Chatterton (1898)
Hand-coloured by Gloria Cardew

This supplement thus contains two new items of information about Gloria Cardew's coloured copies of Vale Press books. She dared to have a go at an extremely rare and precious copy printed on vellum. To sign her work, she has included a handwritten note in the other book in addition to her printed label. It brings Cardew just a little closer.