Wednesday, April 25, 2018

352. Ricketts's Design of Oscar Wilde's Poems (1892) (4)

In last week's blog - No 351 Ricketts's Design of Oscar Wilde's Poems (1892) (3) - I have shown a scan of the lower part of the title page of Poems (1892). This page is part of a bifolium, four pages, of which only one is typeset (the half title). The last page is left blank, the second and third pages contain the limitation statement and the title page and these two have been reproduced after an original drawing by Ricketts.

Oscar Wilde, Poems (1892)
The bifolium has been pasted in at the front, before the other gatherings. 

Ricketts's hand-lettering was slightly reduced in size, as usual for relief blocks, minimizing the space between some lines in the limitation statement, and on the title page. 

The printing of the block has left traces in some copies of Poems. Next to the place name 'London', slightly to the left, a faint ink circle can be seen. This was not intended. 

Title page of Oscar Wilde, Poems (1892) (detail)
When the zinc plate was ready for use, it was mounted on wood to the height of the type, and this was done with small nails. The head should remain below the inking surface, but the faint ink circle on the title page testifies that this wasn't always properly taken care of, causing the head of the nail to catch ink and print it on the paper.