London: The Cresset Press, 1929. Hardcover. Number 347 of 450 copies printed on mould-made paper. An additional 30 copies numbered I-XXX were printed on handmade paper. This sumptuous edition of the biblical apocrypha as they appeared in the King James Bible has fourteen wood engraved illustrations, one for each book, each commissioned by a noted contemporary artist of the time. They are Blair Hughes Stanton, Gertrude Hermes, Leon Underwood, Stephen Gooden, Rene Ben Sussan, M.E. Groom, Eric Jones, Wladislaw Skoczylas, Hester Sainbury, Frank Medworth, Eric Ravilious, John Nash, and D. Galanis. The Cresset Press was a publishing company in London, England, active as an independent press from 1927 for 40 years, and initially specializing in "expensively illustrated limited editions of classical works, like Milton's Paradise Lost" but later going on to produce well-designed trade editions of literary and political works. Among the leading illustrators commissioned by Cresset were Blair Hughes-Stanton and Gertrude Hermes — The Pilgrim's Progress (1928), The Apocrypha (1929), and D. H. Lawrence's Birds, Beasts and Flowers (1930). [Wikipedia] Bound in full cream vellum over thick boards with a leather title label to spine. Spine label is rubbed and slightly nicked. The binding is tight and unbowed. The text pages are bright and fresh. The superb full page wood engravings are sharp and vivid impressions. The book was beautifully printed at the Curwen Press. Housed in a black slipcase. In fine condition in near fine slipcase. Measures 8.5 x 13 inches. 406 pages. PRI/121422. Fine.
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Minneapolis: Indulgence Press, 2012. Portfolio. Number 7 of 10 copies. Signed and numbered by poet and illustrator. This is one of several books produced by Wilber "Chip" Schilling, owner of the Indulgence Press, in collaboration with author-artist Thomas Rose. In this book they created a beautiful and mysterious work that combines Rose's haunting photographs with the poetry of Lo Ch'ing, a noted modern poet from China. In his foreword, Rose states that "art deals with primary intention and those aspects of objects and space that are unavailable to logic. His images are constructed from various sources including shadows and reflections. They are illusions, reflections in glass. Lo Ch'ing's poems give these images...depth and richness." The pairings of the photographs and poems are open-ended and ambiguous, allowing for conjecture as to how the images and text meet. The eight photographic prints are originals by Rose, and Lo Ch’ing wrote the interpretive poems for this book, with his original brushwork and translations. They were printed letterpress from plates by Schilling. Each image is printed in color on a fine woven paper. Each poem is printed in Chinese and English along with the striking black brushwork on a light and semi-transparent paper that slightly reveals the image beneath. The elephant folio sized sheets are housed in a green and black cloth portfolio with diagonal boards that fasten with a black bone closure. A stunning production from the noted Indulgence Press in fine condition. PRI/121312. Fine.
Oakland, CA: Prototype Press, 2017. Hardcover. Number 21 of 52 copies. A finely printed edition of Bukowski's semi-autobiographical work about coming of age in Los Angeles during the Great Depression. Huge fans of Bukowski's work, printers David Johnston and Mark Sarigianis, aspired to print this modern classic in their early days of working together at the Arion Press. Years later, after forming The Prototype Press in 2014, they began the process of acquiring the printing rights, and Johnston digitally keyboarded the novel in preparation to begin typecasting. Unfortunately, he tragically passed on within a week of completing it. Over the next few years his partner Sarigianis completed the book, which necessitated a two-part casting of type and printing - with the first half of type melted down in order to cast the second. Illustrated by Sean StarWars, a woodcut artist living in Laurel, Mississippi with his wife and five children. He is also a proud member of the Outlaw Printmakers. Following is a note about this project from the artist: "Nobody really gets a Charles Bukowski quote right, so I’m just gonna paraphrase him: 'You’re only a writer when you’re writing’. I have taken that to heart as an artist, specifically as a printmaker. 'You’re only an artist when you’re making art, not when you’re talking about it…' With that in mind I have spent the last 25 years with my nose to the grindstone blasting out print after print after print. Being invited to illustrate Ham on Rye has been one of the most personally gratifying projects I have ever worked on. It has also been one of the most challenging. This project has forced me to do a number of things I don’t do well or easily, such as working small and working detailed. But there’s one other thing I learned from my years of devouring Bukowski and that’s to trust your gut, and I think I’ve gotten pretty good at doing that. I hope you see my woodcuts as Inspirations by Bukowski and not simply illustrations of his words.’’ Bound in handmade black paper from St. Armand over white pigskin with black title to spine. Light rubbing to boards, else fine. Letterpress printed in Goudy Powell with heads in Headline Bold. The chapter numbers and title page are printed with Condensed Gothic Bold woodtype. Printed on custom handmade paper from St. Armand with the watermarks of "CB" (the author's initials) and "HC" (the author's alter-ego, Henry Chinaski). The illustrations are printed from the original hand carved wood blocks over tinted blocks of cyan, magenta, and yellow. The type was cast and the book was printed and bound by the Prototype Press. Housed in a black paper covered slipcase titled in gilt to spine panel. 364 pages. PRI/051923. Fine.
"Tranquility" Southern MD: Prototype Press, 2021. Hardcover. Number 13 of 50 copies. A finely printed edition of M.F.K. Fisher's culinary classic about oysters, originally printed in 1941. Head of the Prototype Press, Mark Sarigianis, first encountered Fisher's book at the Mills College Library in CA and was entranced. He says: "Even though it was written in 1941, I was immediately struck by the passionate 'foodie' sensibilities with which she waxed poetic about oysters. In fact, she made any modern writer of the subject seem incredibly boring. A serendipitous connection led me to be able to ask M.F.K. Fisher's daughter, Kennedy Golden, directly for her permission to print the work." Sarigianis hired Martin Mazorra, a Brooklyn based artist with work in collections around the U.S., to create engaging anthropomorphic linocuts to illustrate the text. His playful illustrations pair nicely with Fisher's often humorous observations, such as this one: "An oyster will taste like what the taster expects, which of course depends on the taster. Myself, since I was seventeen I have expected all oysters to be delicious, and with very few exceptions they have been. In the same way, some people wait, if they manage to swallow these shellfish at all, to gag more or less violently. And they gag" (page 28). In addition to recipes accompanied by witty observations and commentary, Fisher includes chapters on the life of an oyster, people who have died from eating them, flavors of oysters depending on region, the making of pearls, personal oyster anecdotes, possible aphrodisiac qualities of an oyster, appropriate drinks to accompany a meal of oysters, and more. Bound by the press in quarter white goatskin with handmade gray paper covered boards and silver title to spine. Clean and bright. Printed in Monotype Goudy Light with Windsor Elongated typeface for the blue headlines on custom paper from the Saint-Armand paper mill. The paper used for the binding and box were also produced by the Saint-Armand paper mill. Housed in a box covered in handmade white paper with a detachable magnetic lid. Issued with a custom oyster shucking knife, stamped with the title of the book and author, which can be used to assist with opening the lid of the box housing the book. 76 pages. PRI/031423. Fine.