Wednesday, November 18, 2020

486. Speaking Ephemera (3): Prospectus for The Dial No. 2 (1892)

The format of a prospectus often comes close to that of the book or periodical that it announces. But its size and scope can also provide an understanding of the intentions of the publisher. The prospectus for the second issue of The Dial may serve as an example, as it came in two different formats and the question is of course: why would a publisher, who has difficulty raising the money to print the magazine itself, bother to print two different prospectuses?

Prospectus for The Dial (1892): two copies: page [1]

The larger of the two sizes measures 29.3 cm by 18.7 cm - the periodical itself is slightly larger: 36,1 x 29,0 mm. The smaller size prospectus (approximately half the size) is 20,6 x 18,7 cm. Both are printed on the same machine-made paper, the larger one having vertical, the smaller one horizontal chain lines. (The paper of The Dial is heavier.) The texts and illustrations in both prospectuses are completely identical.

There are four pages: (1) announcement; (2) quotations from reviews of number 1 (1889), and the contents of No. 1 and No. 2; (3) a note on the woodcuts and lithographs ('not photographic reproductions'); and (4) advertisement of portfolios and books. 

Prospectus for The Dial (1892): two copies: page [2]-[3]

The inner pages of the prospectuses do show a difference: the inner margins (gutter) of page 2 and 3 measures 64 mm in the larger size prospectus, while the smaller size has an inner margin of 39 mm.

Prospectus for The Dial (1892): inner margins of two copies: page [2]-[3]

After printing the large sized prospectuses, the standing type was reimposed for a second print run in a smaller format. The forms have been made up with a lesser amount of furniture between the type-pages. 


It is obvious that cost was the most important factor. The smaller prospectuses cost only half as much paper; the shipping costs (envelopes and postage) would also be lower. Aesthetically, Ricketts will have preferred the more luxurious format; but since production of the second instalment of The Dial had already been delayed due to lack of money - Henry James Riley and Thomas Sturge Moore had to help financially - he will have quickly resigned himself to saving paper costs.

Probably, the smaller prospectus has the largest print run, but as both pieces of ephemera are extremely rare, it is difficult to determine.