Wednesday, August 10, 2016

263. Dust-Jackets on Ricketts's books (6): The Pageant

In November 1895 a first issue of the new magazine The Pageant was published. Apart from a limited edition (large paper format, 150 copies), there was an ordinary edition. The books were not issued in a dust-wrapper (as far as we know). 

However, a year later, the ordinary copies of the second issue for 1897 were provided with a remarkable dust-jacket. It has been the subject for an earlier blog: 77. A Paper Wrapper for A Pageant.

Gleeson White,
design for
The Pageantfor 1897

In his new book on dust-jackets, Mark R. Godburn doesn't mention this dust-jacket, and he doesn't mention other dust-jackets printed in colour before 1900. G. Thomas Tanselle, in his Book-Jackets, Their History, Forms and Use (2011) had selected this dust-jacket for a comment on the name of the designer. He argued that it was uncommon to mention the name of the designer of the jacket in the book, and that up till then, there had been no reason to mention names of designers, as the jackets did not bear traces of the work of a designer: ‘Nineteenth-century jackets are not normally associated with specific designers (understandably, given their generally sparse layout), but sometimes the designer can be identified: for example, The Pageant of 1897 (published by Henry & Co. of London) notes on the leaf following the title-leaf, “The outer wrapper is designed by Gleeson White.”' (p. 57).

The other reason to discuss this particular dust-jacket was the terminology used in the book and in advertisements: 'The term for what we now call a “jacket” was not yet settled by the 1890s. An advertisement for a boxed series in Publishers’ Weekly, 43 (28 January 1893), 207 [...] was said to be available in “cloth slip wrappers, each book in a cloth box.” “Outer wrapper,” rather than “slip wrapper,” was used in The Pageant of 1897’ [...].’ (p. 76, note 99).

Godburn and Tanselle do not single out the dust-jacket for its remarkable coloured design. Most illustrated dust-jacket before this one, had an illustration from the book printed in black on the front, and sometimes the paper wrapper itself was of a coloured paper.

In this case of The Pageant, the design had been printed in red, white and green on brown paper, after a design by Gleeson White. A note to the Foreword attested to this. The wrapper had been printed by Edmund Evans, as the foreword itself noticed. Evans (1826-1905) was the foremost colour printer of the latter half of the nineteenth century, working with Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott.

By 1896/1897, when the jacket for The Pageant was being produced, he had retired, leaving the company to his sons, and moved to the Isle of Wight, but he continued to work together with some artists, making wood-engravings for their work. There is no mark of the engraver on the dust-jacket of The Pageant.

Gleeson White,
design for
The Pageant for 1897
(front cover)