Wednesday, February 21, 2018

343. Collections Online: William Andrews Clark Library

The other week, a new website on the history of the book was launched by Johanna Drucker: History of the Book. Coursebook.

The introduction explains its purpose: 

'This online course book uses materials in the UCLA Special Collections as the basis of a bibliographically based approach to the history of the book. Every chapter is structured around artifacts, sometimes of the period under discussion, and sometimes simply referencing those periods (as in section 1. Prehistory). The chapters are meant to provide a through-line narrative for the history of the book, an introduction for anyone interested in a basic overview of major developments, changes in technology, cultural attitudes, circumstances, or other aspects of this history.'

Apart from the 'Coursebook', there are sections for 'Exhibits' and 'Gallery'.

Included in the 'Exhibits' are several examples from the vast collection of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library that holds exceptional material on Wilde, and on Ricketts and Shannon.

There is an image of a Sybil Pye binding for the pre-Vale publication Daphnis and Chloe (1893). The binding is in black pigskin, inlaid with red niger and undyed goatskin, and gold-tooled (as described by Marianne Tidcombe). This binding was ordered by G.F. Simms and acquired by the library in 1959. The cover mentions 'The Loves of Daphnis and Chloe', a title that doesn't occur in the book itself.
Daphnis and Chloe (wood engravings by Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon) (1893)
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
Another example is in the 'British Aestheticism' section. This is a deluxe copy of Oscar Wilde's The Sphinx, with its extended design on the vellum covers (larger than the ordinary edition). There are only 25 copies, and this one still has the original fragile ties.

Oscar Wilde, The Sphinx. Binding design by Charles Ricketts.
Deluxe copy: front and back of binding.
(William Andrews Clark Memorial Library)
A long appraisal of the book can be found in the section on 'Modern Art of the Book'. This essay on The Sphinx with more images is written by Kristin Cornelius Way.