Wednesday, December 26, 2012

74. The signatures of In the key of blue

Last week I wrote about the signatures of the gatherings in a proof copy and compared them to the signatures in the regular copies of the first edition of John Addington Symonds's In the key of blue and other prose essays (1893). The first edition was published in late January 1893 and the gatherings are lettered from 'A' to 'T', but a proof copy has them lettered: 'A*' to 'T*'.

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)
This separates proof copies from the regular ones. However, there are more copies with the signature placed more to the left (under 'na'). Fifty copies of a 'Large Paper Edition' were printed on Arnold unbleached handmade paper, dated 1891. There is a limitation statement on the verso of the title page. In these copies the 'A' is also positioned below 'na' in 'cinnabar'.
Signature A in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays, first edition, large paper issue (1893)
The book was reprinted in the Summer of 1893 with an edition statement on the verso of the title page: 'Reprinted July 1893'. Copies of this edition have the 'A' below the letters 'na' as well. This is true for all later editions. There was a third edition in 1896 and another reprint was issued in 1918.
Signature A in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue and other prose essays, reprint (1893)
However, one can see that there is a small difference between the position of 'A' in the reprints in comparison with the other editions: all the reprints have the 'A' slightly more to the right than in the proof copy or the large paper edition and more to the left than in the regular copies of the first edition.

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...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

73. The first issue of In the key of blue

When I wrote about the colour of In the key of blue a few weeks ago I mentioned Percy L. Babington's bibliography of the writings of John Addington Symonds. We have to reconsider part of his description of In the key of blue (no. 56 in his listing).

'List of books in belles-lettres', 1892-93, in J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue (1893)
In his note to the binding Babington mentions that some copies were bound in blue cloth, but that the main part of the edition was bound in cream coloured cloth. These share the same collation formula, which mentions that at the back a 16-page list of books issued by Mathews and Lane was inserted. According to Babington (who did not mention the exact title), this 'List of books in belles-lettres' was dated '1892-3'; in fact, the list is dated '1892-93'.

Three copies of the first edition of J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue (1893): it is difficult to find a copy in cream cloth in good condition.
Apart from this regular issue, there was a limited 'large paper issue', bound in full vellum to the same design. In these fifty copies the list of books is omitted.

It is rather puzzling to read bookseller's descriptions or catalogue entries that describe the regular cream copies as 'second issue' and the blue copies as 'first issue'. An example is a catalogue compiled by G. Krishnamurti for the National Book League in 1973: The Eighteen-Nineties. A literary exhibition. No. 642 in the exhibition was a cream copy ('buff cloth'), that was listed as: 'First edition, 2nd issue'. It should be said, that there are no separate issues; the only bibliographical fact is that there are two different colours used for the bindings of the regular issue of the first edition.

All copies in blue and in cream cloth have the same list. There were later reprints, which had other lists. More about those editions later.

There is, however, one exception. In November 1894 Elkin Mathews inscribed a copy to Miss Alice Horton. It is a copy in cream cloth and it does not have the 'List of belles-lettres' bound in at the back. The book has another irregularity, which has to do with the signatures of the gatherings, which are lettered from A to T, but in this copy the signatures are A* to T*. An asterisk has been added to the letters, which means that these were proof sheets. In the printing process these asterisks were removed after the text was corrected and before the book was printed. One can also see that the signature was moved to the right.
J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue (1893), page 1, proof copy
J.A. Symonds, In the key of blue (1893), page 1, copy in cream cloth
More details will be given in a later blog.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

72. 'The best copy in the world'

In April of this year a special copy of Daphnis and Chloe, illustrated by Ricketts and Shannon, was on sale and on 9 May I reported that the book had been sold for 8.780 US$. Recently it turned up in catalogue 138 of Bromer Booksellers in Boston under a caption that emphazises its unique character: 'The best copy in the world'.

The presentation copy was inscribed by the artists to their publisher, Elkin Mathews, and is dated May 19, 1893. Thomas Sturge Moore, to whom the book was dedicated, also signed it on the dedication leaf. Added is a set of twenty-seven proof impressions of the woodcuts on twenty-six sheets, each signed by one of the artists in order to identify the designer of the woodcut. The designs were divided between the two, then all were drawn on the wood by Ricketts, and subsequently engraved by both.
Wood-engraving by C.H. Shannon, for Daphnis and Chloe, signed by Shannon (p. 37) [© Bromer Booksellers]
Bromer's website shows that the woodcuts on pages 15 and 37 were signed by Shannon. There are other copies known that identify the illustrations, one of which is in the British Museum. The Bromer copy is described as 'a scholar's copy', and the book has been extensively annotated with pencil notes on the rear blank leaves, comparing the proofs to the published illustrations. Price of the Bromer copy: US$ 14,500.
Wood-engraving by C.H. Shannon, Daphnis and Chloe (p. 33), identified and initialled by T. Sturge Moore (copy in a private collection)

Wood-engraving by C.H. Shannon or C.S. Ricketts, Daphnis and Chloe (p. 33), identified and initialled by T. Sturge Moore (copy in a private collection)

Wood-engraving by C.S. Ricketts, Daphnis and Chloe (p. 57), identified and initialled by T. Sturge Moore (copy in a private collection)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

71. The Greek collection

After I wrote the blogs on Greek art and the works of Ricketts and Shannon (nos. 67, 68 and 69) I read an essay on their Greek and Roman collection in the Journal of the history of collections (vol. 24, no 3, 2012, p. 369-378). The advance access publication date of this issue of the e-journal was 19 April 2012, but through my library (the National Library of the Netherlands) access was delayed until 18 November, while the two supplementary documents are unavailable to this date. It it sometimes difficult to get access to new essays on Ricketts and Shannon, however, the author of the essay, Christina Rozeik, kindly send me the additional material, which sheds light on the acquisition history of the collection of Greek and Roman artefacts in the collection of Ricketts and Shannon that is now located in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Cover for All for art. The Ricketts and Shannon collection (1979)
The museum has always treated the donation as a treasure. The exhibition All for art, edited by Joseph Darracott in 1979, contained 232 objects from this collection, including Egyptian and Japanese art. Sixty objects from the Greek and Roman collection were described, which roughly equals 25% of all objects on display.

All for art. The Ricketts and Shannon collection, p. 38-39 (1979)
Another catalogue, edited by Eleni Vassilika, was published as a Fitzwilliam Museum handbook in 1998: Greek and Roman art. This book showed objects from the vast collection of the museum, including donations by other benefactors: individuals such as C.B. Marlay and institutions such as the Wellcome Trustees. Out of the 64 pieces that were presented twelve were from the Ricketts and Shannon bequest, which is 20%, more than from any other single collection, signalling the importance of the objects that were originally collected between 1898 and 1930 by Ricketts and Shannon. The book was dedicated to their memory.

Cover for Greek and Roman art (Cambridge, 1998)
Although their interest in Greek and Roman art started soon after they began to share rooms in 1886, they could not afford original artefacts right away. The first recorded acquisition is of some Tanagra statues in December 1898, when Shannon's diary attested that 'the weakest of the three cost us £35, the largest sum we have yet paid for a single thing', while Ricketts recorded that 'both our banking accounts vanished in this sale'. He added that the Tanagras 'proved forgeries and were given away'. A footnote in the article by Christina Rozeik, 'A maddening temptation', points out that an annotated copy of the sale catalogue shows that they paid nearly £57 in total. This is an amazing amount of money, as the artists were not that rich at the time, having been forced to move from their too expensive house in the Vale in 1894 to a dark and gloomy house in Beaufort Street in Richmond; however, by 1898 things were getting better and they moved to a pleasant house at 8 Spring Terrace in Richmond.

Rozeik describes the development of their collection as well as the restoration history of the collection. I will follow up on this story at a later date.