After removing the asterisks and before printing the entire edition, the signatures were moved to the right. The 'A*' is below the letters 'na' in the word 'cinnabar'. In the regular edition the 'A' is below the letters 'ab', whether copies have a blue or a cream coloured binding.
|Signature A* in a proof copy of J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays (1893)|
|Signature A in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays, first edition, regular issue (1893)|
|Signature A in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays, first edition, large paper issue (1893)|
|Signature A in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays, reprint (1893)|
From the correspondence of J.A. Symonds we know that the publisher had stereotypes made after the first edition had been printed. On 20 March 1893 Symonds wrote: 'Since the type is moulded, there will be no question of making additions or alterations in a second edition; & the book can be printed without my seeing proofs'. James G. Nelson, in his book The early nineties. A view from the Bodley Head (1971) mentions that 'molds' were listed in a transcript of the final inventory sheets of the firm (c. 1894).
We can deduct from this that the later editions were all printed from moulds. For these the signatures of the gatherings were adjusted: the 'A' was moved slightly to the left - it should be pointed out that the signatures of all gatherings underwent these small changes.
The regular edition had been printed from type that had all signatures more to the right. It was usual to print the large paper copies after the regular edition, and this means that the signatures were adjusted three times:
1. the asterisk was removed after the proofs had been corrected and the signature was moved to the right (below 'ab'), and the regular edition was printed;
2. the signature was moved to the left (under 'na'), and the large paper edition was printed;
3. the signature was moved to the right (under 'na'); the plates were stereotyped.
And there is more...