Wednesday, January 9, 2013

76. Patterned papers (h: bird and rose)

In June 1898 the Vale Press published a two-volume edition of The Rowley poems of Thomas Chatterton. For this book Ricketts designed two patterned papers, one for the boards and one for the spine. They were used on both volumes.
Charles Ricketts, patterned paper for The Rowley poems of Thomas Chatterton (1898) (vol. 2)
The paper on the boards is a pattern of 'rose and bird', according to Ricketts in his bibliography (1904). Colin Franklin, in his book The private press (second edition, 1991), identified the bird as a swallow and this may well be the case, although Ricketts's designs usually are too stylized for an exact determination.
Charles Ricketts, patterned paper for The Rowley poems of Thomas Chatterton (1898) (vol. 1) [detail]
Ricketts apparently did not really care for exactness in naming the bird, or the flower, for that matter. He said it was a rose, which is obviously true, but he does not tell us what kind of rose. The same goes for the patterned paper for Michael Field's Fair Rosamund, for which another rose and another bird (a dove this time) were drawn. 

Charles Ricketts, patterned paper for The Rowley poems of Thomas Chatterton (1898) (vol. 1) [detail]

The second paper is nameless. It has an abstract pattern of acorns and dotted triangles, that may be vine leaves, and were called 'vine-and-diamond domino' by Alice H.R.H. Beckwith (in Dictionary of literary biography, volume 112, 1991). There seem to be no repetitions, Ricketts must have engraved an entire block for it.

Earlier parts of this series about the Vale Press patterned papers:

a: Mouse and nut (Michael Drayton's Nymphidia or the Muses Elizium)
b: The Suckling rose (The poems of Sir John Suckling)
c: The ship (Fifty songs by Thomas Campion)
d: Bird, arrow and rose (Michael Field, Fair Rosamund)
e: A flowered paper (Henry Constable's Poems and sonnets)
f: Pine-cone and leaf (The sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney)
g: Wilde rose (De la typographie et de l'harmonie de la page imprimée. William Morris et son influence sur les arts et métiers)