Wednesday, November 17, 2021

538. Ricketts's Publisher's Devices for Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. (2)

The publisher's mark that Ricketts had designed for Wilde's Intentions would, with a slight modification, be used almost immediately for another Osgood, McIlvaine & Co. publication, strikingly enough also a book whose title page and binding had been designed by Ricketts. Thomas Hardy's collection of stories, A Group of Noble Dames, appeared in the same month as Intentions, May 1891.

Thomas Hardy, A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
Title page designed by Charles Ricketts

The device is identical, but in a different hand the initials 'O.' and 'M.', for Osgood and McIlvaine, have been added at the top, in rather thick lines, deviating from the style of the mark.

Thomas Hardy, A Group of Noble Dames (1891)
Publisher's mark designed by Charles Ricketts

This mark was made into a stamp that could be applied to a book binding, and this was done for a series of translations published by Osgood, McIlvaine & Co under the title Red Letter Stories. They were bound in green cloth, about the same colour as Intentions. The publisher's device was not repeated on the title page. The series was not designed by Ricketts.

Guy de Maupassant, The Odd Number (1891)
[Red Letter Stories]

The first volume, Anatole France's The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, translated by Lafcadio Hearn,  appeared in June 1891, and subsequent volumes included Paul Bourget's A Saint and Others (translated by John Gray, September 1891), and Guy de Maupassant's The Odd Number (translated by Jonathan Sturges, October 1891). As far as I know, there were eight volumes in this series and they were printed in cloth, but each volume also appeared in a paper cover - I have not seen any of those.

Device No. Ia
May 1891. 35 x 20 mm.
Thomas Hardy, A Group of Noble Dames. Title-page. Printed in black.
Identical to Number I, except for the initials O. and M. at the top. These handwritten characters may have been added by the publishers.
(Cf. Paul van Capelleveen, 'The Revival of a Publisher's Device. Charles Ricketts and Osgood, McIlvaine & Co.', The Book Collector, volume 55 No 3 (Autumn 2006)