Wednesday, May 26, 2021

513. Dedication & Dedications

Collectors of books can vary enormously from one another, there are wolverines among them, explorers, and some collectors concentrate on a single subject, with, admittedly, some satellite subjects - too much fun to ignore. It's all a matter of dedication.

Maggs Bros Ltd devoted an initial catalogue to the collection of Philip Kent Cohen: Oscar Wilde & His Circle (catalogue 1512). In the introduction, Cohen - author of a biography of John Evelyn Barlas (1860-1914) - explains that he gained his fascination with the 1890s during lectures by James G. Nelson. This is the first catalogue in a series that will include volumes on The New Woman, The Rhymers' Club, and Book Arts.

Oscar Wilde, A House of Pomegranates (1891):
Cover design by Charles Ricketts (detail)

The chapters of most interest to this blog are those on Oscar Wilde (nos. 1-39, with an introduction to Wilde and bookselling by Ed Maggs), John Gray (nos. 177-207) and Ricketts and Shannon (nos. 279-280).

Oscar Wilde, A House of Pomegranates (1891):
Cover design by Charles Ricketts (detail)

For example, the Wilde section contains fine copies of the earliest Ricketts-designed books, such as Intentions and Lord Arthur Savile's Crime & Other Stories (both 1891), but the most eye-catching book is a dedication copy of Wilde's A House of Pomegranates, with a presentation inscription by Wilde to Margot Tennant (later Margot Asquith).

Oscar Wilde, A House of Pomegranates (1891):
Endpaper design by Charles Ricketts (detail)

The John Gray section contains some Vale Press editions edited by Gray, but here a group of five copies of Silverpoints, one of Ricketts's best known and most appreciated designs, stands out. There is a deluxe copy bound in vellum and printed on Spalding paper (but one of a series of unnumbered copies). 

There are four copies of the regular edition. 
1. a copy with a handwritten dedication to Lady Gregory;
2. a copy from Walter Pater's collection; this is one of a small number of copies of the regular edition printed on Spalding (the regular edition is printed on Van Gelder paper);
3. an ordinary numbered copy;
4. and another copy of the regular edition.
That's an impressive list.

John Gray, Silverpoints (1893):
Cover design by Charles Ricketts (detail)

The Ricketts and Shannon section is only brief and includes two items: an incomplete set of their magazine The Dial (No. 2-5) and a letter from Ricketts to the publisher regarding the design of Wilde's Poems (1892). The book was published on 26 May 1892, and this note is dated (by a third party) 4 April. Ricketts said he had made some changes to the design ('Please put the additions you require where I have indicated.'), and asked the publisher to remove the 'acorns I have scratched out'. This probably refers to the title page and the facing limitation statement.

The splendid catalogue contains descriptions of all items, dozens of illustrations and fascinating commentaries.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

512. The Complete Correspondence of Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore (5)

Earlier, I wrote about the Gordon Bottomley-Thomas Sturge Moore correspondence, edited by John Aplin, and published online by InteLex Past Masters in Charlottesville, Virginia. This blog publishes some letters about Gordon Bottomley and his publisher Constable.

Charles Ricketts, cover design
for Gordon Bottomley, King Lear's Wife, The Crier by Night,
The Riding to Lithend, Midsummer Eve, Laodice and Danaë

In 1920, Constable & Company Limited published the first of four sumptuous books of plays and poems by Gordon Bottomley, all with cover designs by Charles Ricketts. In each case, two editions appeared: a regular trade edition and a deluxe edition. The correspondence shows that this was initiated by the publisher, which means the firm saw potential profit in Bottomley's work. Ricketts provided his designs as a gift to the author. Bottomley received copies of the regular edition of King Lear's Wife, The Crier by NightThe Riding to Lithend, Midsummer Eve, Laodice and Danaë on 8 July 1920, the deluxe copies arrived on 9 August.

In a letter from Bottomley to Michael Sadler (Constable), the author welcomed the idea of a limited edition:

I am very glad indeed to hear your idea of doing a small edition in vellum or white cloth; I shall of course be happy to sign these special copies, or to do anything else that will further the project. I should be glad if we could make some arrangement to have four copies done for me in addition to those you are doing for sale: I might say that none of these would be sent to people likely to buy the special copies. In carrying out this idea I wonder if it would be possible to stamp the design in gold? Ricketts tells me he designed it with that purpose in view, and it would be nice to see a few copies done so – though I hasten to add that he also approves the blue and grey for the ordinary edition.
(Letter from Gordon Bottomley to Michael Sadler, 24 April 1920, Temple, Constable Archive, cf. The Complete Correspondence of Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore at Intelex PastMasters, letter 434, 19-21 October 1920, note 19).

When the regular edition had been published, Bottomley wrote to Thomas Sturge Moore that he would have to wait a little longer for his copy. The bookbinder needed more time for the deluxe edition. 

The book is out; I expect you will have seen the advertisement in the T.L.S., so you will be expecting your copy to turn up soon, and I hasten to tell you it will not be ready just yet as I am having a special copy bound for you as Ricketts meant it to be. 
(Letter from Gordon Bottomley to T. Sturge Moore, cf. The Complete Correspondence of Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore at Intelex PastMasters (letter 399), 8 July 1920.)

The Times Literary Supplement,
24 June 1920

The design was ready in 1915, but it was not until after the war that the publisher was able to finance the book. Actually, all copies should have been bound in white buckram with the design printed in gold, but only the fifty numbered and signed copies were so executed. The regular edition has the design on a brown cardboard, printed in blue.

It did not end with those fifty copies, for Bottomley had six more copies bound identically for himself, but without the limitation statement (in the deluxe editions this is printed on the page facing the title page). 

Gordon Bottomley, King Lear's Wife, The Crier by Night,
The Riding to Lithend, Midsummer Eve, Laodice and Danaë

The additional deluxe copies are mentioned in a letter from Bottomley to T.S. Moore:

Sadler issued at a fabulous price 50 copies done in gold and white cloth as Ricketts intended; so I got him to do six more for me without the numbering and signing; and yours is one of those.
(Letter from Gordon Bottomley to T. Sturge Moore, cf. The Complete Correspondence of Gordon Bottomley and Thomas Sturge Moore at Intelex PastMasters, letter 434, 19-21 October 1920.)

The price of the deluxe edition was not mentioned in the advertisement in The Times Literary Supplement, but a leaflet issued in 1925 mentions 31s. 6d.

The edition of the three later Bottomley books published by Constable included lettered copies in addition to the numbered copies, and these were often used by the author as dedication copies. Oddly enough, the edition of these later books may also include deluxe copies without a limitation statement. At least one such copy is known of Poems of Thirty Years (1925), which is curious, because there were already seventy-five deluxe copies for sale, in addition to twelve copies for presentation. Possibly, regular copies were bound in deluxe left-over bindings.

Gordon Bottomley,
King Lear's Wife, The Crier by Night,
The Riding to Lithend, Midsummer Eve,
Laodice and Danaë

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

511. Charles Ricketts's Own Colophon for Silverpoints

Charles Ricketts designed the poetry collection Silverpoints by John Gray. The book appeared in March 1893, but not quite in the way Ricketts desired. In the bibliography of his Vale Press editions, he wrote that some of the books he designed before the Vale Press was established had been the subject of occasional difficulties with printers. This was the case with Silverpoints.

What exactly was missing? 

This is one of the early commissions Ricketts received from Elkin Mathews and John Lane (At the Bodley Head) and he wanted to put his name to it.

His name is represented only by his monogram found on the front and back of the binding: a square with the initials CR in the lower left corner, and by a second signed monogram opposite the last text page. Above the printer's name, the monogram CR appears between three branch and leaf motifs.

Colophon of John Gray, Silverpoints (1893)

In the front of the book, on the reverse side of the title page, is the justification for the edition. Proofs of the title page show that Ricketts had wanted his full name mentioned there. In 1989, the firm of Warrack & Perkins offered a copy of Silverpoints with these proofs in the catalogue The Turn of a Century, 1885-1910: 

Tipped in at the front of this copy is a proof of the title-page with a holograph inscription, “Dear Mr. Matthews (sic). This is the way these pages should be arranged - as I have numbered them, according to Mr. Ricketts. So now Mr. Leighton can proceed with the binding. Yours most sincerely, John Gray.” At the foot of the proof, on the right, opposite the imprint, is pasted a small slip, printed in red in the same italic face as the text of the book: “The binding design of water and willow leaves is by CS Ricketts. The build of the book has throughout been founded on the Aldine Italic books.” It is not clear whether Gray was returning a complete set of galleys (he had asked Lane to send him one in October 1892) or simply proofs of the preliminary leaves (as the phrase ‘these pages’ might suggest). If that were the case, then the red-printed slip might represent an addition to the preliminary text that Ricketts wished to be made (the wording is unmistakenly his) but which was never realized.

John Gray, Silverpoints (1893): verso of title page

Since the additional text was set in the book's typeface, it must have been Ricketts's intention that it be added to the title page, or to the verso of it.

The text was not completely lost. The earliest Bodley Head advertisements for the book contain this very phrase almost verbatim:

Cover (Water and Willow Leaves) and Initial Letters designed by C.S. RICKETTS. Limited Edition (Twenty-five Copies on Japanese paper, £1 1s.). Long 12mo, 7s. 6d. net. The build of this book has been founded throughout on the Aldine Italic Books. 
(The Academy, 10 December 1892, p. 548.)

This leaves room for several possibilities, such as: Ricketts saw the advertisements (based on his own information) and may have thought that this piece of information should actually be in the book; or: the book had already been printed, but not yet bound, and the publisher could merely use it in advertisements.

And questions remain: why was the request not granted, and why are the unused additional lines printed in red? Why would the publisher use Ricketts's name for advertisements, but not in the book itself?

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

510. Michael Field, Prostitution and The Hague

In an article about Michael Field, pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, Anna Gruetzner Robins wrote about the pair's erotic dreams and poems, but also about their study of Walter Pater's work in which 'male-male desire' predominates and in which images of women, such as Venus, are described in terms of prostitution: 'An undercurrent of revulsion runs through his comments. He imagines Venus to be a worn-out sex worker, a woman of the streets, up before dawn, with "sorrow in her face" at the thought of the whole long day of love yet to come.' ('A Woman's Touch: Michael Field, Botticelli, and Queer Desire' was published in Botticelli Past and Present, an open access publication of UCL Press, 2019). 

Michael Field had a crush on Botticelli's paintings, until Charles Ricketts convinced them that Edward Burne-Jones was a better painter. Apparently, he did not see that Burne-Jones could not help them have pleasant dreams. 

Capitoline Venus (Capitoline Museum, Rome)

Paintings such as Botticelli's 'Primavera' and sculptures such as the Venus of the Capitol triggered Michael Field's erotic fantasies. Katherine Bradley wrote from Rome to her lover Edith that, happily, the statue of Venus was unshrouded and unmutilated, but that 'the real beauty of the waist is only seen in the back', and she therefore hoped that someone would turn the statue around so that the 'beauty of the loins' could be engraved in her memory.

Her thoughts on the female body were firmly opposed to those of Pater and other nineteenth-century men. Gruetzner Robins briefly discusses Bradley's knowledge of prostitution. 

Josephine Butler (1876)

While living in Bristol, she had become acquainted with a group of Quakers around Josephine Butler who successfully opposed derogatory laws and measures against women in prostitution:

In September 1883 she travelled together with a group of women, including Josephine Butler, to attend the Third Annual Congress of the British and Continental Federation for the Abolition of State Regulation of Vice, at The Hague. There Katherine gave a speech herself and listened to five days of speeches about prostitution.
(Gruetzner Robins, p. 154)

From The Hague she wrote three long letters to Edith about her experiences in the Netherlands where the congress was held from 17 to 22 September 1883. She was one of the many attendees. It has to be said that most of the speakers were men and that there were special sessions where women were not allowed to participate and others that were organised exclusively for women, in addition to which Butler herself held meetings in her own chambers - and it was at one of those intimate meetings, an early-morning prayer-meeting, that Katherine Bradley manifested herself as a speaker. She did not make a speech, for it was during a prayer session that she said a prayer of thanks that won praise in the small devotional circle. This explains why her presence had escaped the notice of the Dutch journalists. There is nothing about these private meetings in the newspaper reports. In a letter of 23 September 1883 Bradley wrote to Edith:

I prayed in the midst of the people, and as I found from the loving gratitude of the Dutch ladies, was understood. I tried to say how that gathering made clear to me the meaning of the day of Pentecost, how though we could not all understand the words of some of the prayers we had heard each man speak in the tongue in wh. he was born, through the presence of the Holy Spirit. And bye the bye I prayed for the women of The Hague, when we left to begin the hard work, and especially gave thanks for these, who had adopted a tongue not their own for our sakes, and received us with such love and kindness. And the dear homely yet withal impressive and dignified ladies came to me and thanked me in a way I shall never forget.
(Sharon Bickle (Ed.), The Fowl and the Pussycat. Love Letters of Michael Field, 1876-1909. Charlottesville and London, University of Virginia Press, 2008, pp. 105-106).

Despite the hustle and bustle of the conference with speeches in English, French and Dutch, Katherine Bradley still saw something of the city and its surroundings. On 15 September, two days before the start, she arrived at Hotel Paulez.

Hotel Paulez [left], c.1880 (Collection Munipical Archives, The Hague)

In the centre of The Hague, opposite the Royal Theatre and on the corner of Korte Voorhout - where, after a bombing in 1945, the American Embassy designed by Marcel Breuer was to be built - stood the Hotel Paulez, which was a proud second on the list of luxury hotels in The Hague. The hotels that would later lead the ranking, such as Hotel des Indes where Pavlova stayed, did not yet exist at that time. Bradley therefore made an expensive choice, probably inspired by the stay of the entire delegation at the Hotel Paulez.

On her first day, she went with a delegation colleague to Scheveningen for a sea bath:

They gave me as it were a chemise in white flannel with no drawers: the experience though not very safe was delicious [...] The drive to ... the little sea-side place was through Magnificent alleys [...].
(letter, 19 September 1883)

That evening, she attended a busy reception given by the mayor of The Hague, J.G. Patijn, probably in the old city hall on the Groenmarkt.

Town Hall, The Hague (c.1900)

There were 'little glasses of foaming Champagne', 'little patties - wicked looking little things', 'tea in apparently blue Delft ware', after which she got into a conversation with a young Dutch woman with whom she talked about her dress, and Bradley tried to explain 'the high art position'. She was 'relieved to find she had heard of Morris'. Katherine and Edith 'rejected corsets and crinolines in favour of daringly clinging dresses in arty colours such as peach, gold or green, with hair loosely knotted at the nape of the neck' (see Emma Donoghue, We Are Michael Field, 1998, p. 33).

On the first day of the conference, she and Mary Priestman were helped by 'Pastor Pierson' in their search for a place to have lunch. Hendrik Pierson was one of the leading figures in the Dutch debate on prostitution and, according to Bradley, he spoke 'good' English and was 'serviceable'. 

Portrait of Hendrik Pierson (1896)
[Lithograph by Jan Pieter Veth]

Katherine described him as a man with long hair, a socialist who was to speak that evening. A group photo was taken of the participants that afternoon, but Mary and she 'remained obscure  in the background'. This photograph is depicted in The Fowl & the Pussycat, where the location is said to be the Zoological-Botanical Gardens. However, the company would only walk to the zoo after the photograph was taken, and the buildings in the background correspond to the environment of the place where the conference was held. The opening was held in the parliamentary buildings, in the famous Trèves hall, but the congress afterwards took place in the building of 'Kunst en Wetenschappen' (Arts and Sciences) on Zwarteweg. On such occasions, group photos were often taken in the gardens behind the building - some of those can be seen on the website of the Municipal Archives of The Hague. (This district, between Herenstraat and Schedeldoekshaven, was later demolished and replaced by new buildings.)

Kunst en Wetenschappen, c. 1880
[Collection Municipal Archives, The Hague]

Bradley bought some grapes, and the party moved to the Zoological Gardens where they 'sat by a pond, and watched the stork on one leg!' 

A delicious place this garden, with the most exquisite foliage plants, and nice brilliant coloured birds [...].
(19 September 1883)

The Zoological Gardens, The Hague
(map, c.1870)
[Collection Municipal Archives, The Hague]

In the gardens (located opposite today's central station), many plants and birds could be viewed, but there were also various animal species including kangaroos, deer, a camel, squirrels, antelopes, mouflons, zebras, marmots and bears.

On 22 September, a closing reception was held at the home of Henrik Count van Hogendorp (1842-1924) and his young wife Alice Ellen, born Gevers Deijnoot (1857-1905).

Henrik Count van Hogendorp
[Collection Municipal Archives, The Hague]

Katherine described the reception in a letter of 23 September 1883:

And then at half-past eight to the Count van Hogendorp's - the last great reception at one of the grand aristocratic old families of Holland.  [...] The young and beautiful wife had a word for each, - graceful and full of frankest charm [...] Tea in exquisite Delft ware - no handles to the cups - was passed round. I was introduced to a Dutch gentleman - then to his wife, and then in a quiet time looked round at the brilliant Assembly, and at the room, with its Delft wall-plate, its probably family miniatures, and soft tinted curtains. Afterwards in an adjoining room we gathered to hear Mrs Butler speak. There looked down the great  ancestral Hogendorps - approvingly I should think [...].

During Butler's speech, Bradley's gaze wandered to a small Dutch painting of a knitting girl in a white dress. Afterwards, many of the Dutch ladies approached her: 

I am to them a Dutch Madonna - their chosen, as it seems to me of all England's delegates.

And that was because of her prayer of thanksgiving the day before.

The next day Mary Priestman and Katherine Bradley travelled to Amsterdam and from there via Rotterdam back home. Whether Bradley, after this trip, ever spoke again at meetings of the Ladies National Association is unclear. But ethical subjects had the interest of both Michael Fields. They spoke out in favour of votes for women, supported a local anti-vivisection society, and Katherine Bradley had subscribed to John Ruskin's utopian Guild of St. George. Although public activism was set aside for literature; Bradley continued to attend lectures on socialism, and charity, and attended meetings of the Fellowship of the New Life, but 'appeared to have been more of a bystander than an involved member' (Diana Maltz, in Michael Field and Their World, ed. by Margaret D. Stetz and Cheryl A. Wilson, 2007, p. 198).

The prayer of thanks must have been an exceptional expression of faith for a poet who later adhered to pantheism (with a pagan temple in the garden) and still later converted to the Roman Catholic faith.