Riverside, CA: Bo Press Miniature Books, 2019. Number 4 of 20. At his height, Henry Irving (1838 - 1905) was the greatest actor in the world (and the first to be knighted). He was much more than an actor, he was an actor-producer, which in those days meant that he was responsible for everything, what we would call the artistic director, the director, the production manager, the production designer, and also the lead actor. And the scale of his productions at the Lyceum Theater in London were gorgeous and spectacular, using the latest technology in staging and special effects. Irving led the English theater for over thirty years, and died as he would no doubt have wished, still acting. I came upon his obituary in the Times, and it was a wonderful piece of writing, but also a very good valuation of his art and his place in theatrical history, which isn't so easy to do so near an actor's own time. The old joke used to run that he was an actor who would never play Faust when he could play Mephistopheles. He changed the status of the theater forever, bringing it from the shady demimonde of the 18th century to the height of a recognized and respected form of art. Everyone at the Lyceum called him the Guv'nor, a term of both affection and a well-founded wariness of his perfectionism. If in a former life I had worked as a costumer in his company, I would have been proud to do the same. This miniature book is bound in a gray paper with horizontal slubbed gold lines, and a black and gold marbled paper that wraps around the back to form a small pocket inside filled with theater memoribelia: programs, autographs, advertising posters, and other souvenirs. 2 7/8" x 2", 64 pages. Fine.
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Tokyo: Kodansha, (circa 1980). "Pictorial record of all about Japan's unique puppet theater ... (with pictures by) the one camera artist devoted to the theater for years long enough to know minds and emotions of these 'living' puppet individuals" (English insert). Includes over 700 plates with 19 in color. Also includes an 8 page laid-in English language introduction by Dr. Roy Andrew Miller. Bound in grey cloth boards with gilt title in Japanese to spine and black title (also in Japanese) to front cover. Clean and bright with many tipped-in photographs. Text in Japanese ONLY (with small English language insert). Laid in print of faces. Housed in a black paper covered box with illustration of a lady to front panel. Bottom panel of box is detached along one edge. Wear and rubbing to edges, corners, and panels of box. Size: Quarto. 263 pages.
New York: Harper & Brothers, 1927. First Edition. Hardcover. Cloth Backed Paper Boards. FIRST TRADE EDITION. 8vo. Wood-cut frontispiece by Cimino. Black cloth spine with blue paper covered boards. Pastedown title to spine. Boards are rubbed and browned along edges with minor wear to spine ends and corners. Interior is very clean with light browning to margins. Bookplate and previous ownership signature. 132 pages. DRA/091819. Very Good.
Bisbee, AZ: Pequeno Press, 1997. Number 19 of 16 copies, signed by Pat Baldwin, the designer and publisher. This charming miniature book is designed as a folding box with an accordion style folded out sheet. When the box is opened it reveals a silver figure of Queen Mab riding in her polymer clay carriage with silk reins. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the character Mercutio jests with Romeo by musing that Mab, the bringer of dreams, has visited his lovesick friend. Mab first seems like a whimsical creation like the fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream, but it soon becomes clear that Mercutio's Queen Mab is a malevolent hag who punishes "unchaste" ladies. Pat Baldwin established the Pequeno Press in 1984 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She moved the press to Bisbee Arizona in 1990. The press published 71 limited edition, hand bound miniature books, two of which won the Miniature Book Society's Distinguished Book award. Book measures 2 inches in a box that measures 2.4 x 2.25 . 2.4 inches. In fine condition. MINIAT/111319. Fine.
Tokyo: The Nippon Gakujutsu Shinokai, 1955. Hardcover. First Edition. 2 volume set in dust jackets. Small quarto. Brown silk covered boards with silver titles to covers and spines. Boards show little to no wear, save for a small smudge mark to the rear board of volume 2. Front pastedowns of both volumes have a previous ownership inscription. Some off-setting from front free endpaper to both half-title pages, otherwise text and illustrations are clean and bright. Frontispiece of volume 1 is a fold-out black and white illustration of a traditional japanese scene; that of volume 2 is a color photograph reproduction of a kimono. Each volume also contains a map of "Japan in Provinces." Cream dust jackets with black titles to spines and front panels. Jackets show only very light edgewear, with some browning along edges and spines. Volume 1: 192 pages; volume 2: 190 pages. DRA/082919. Very Good / Very Good.
New York: Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., 1939. Hardcover. Small quartos. Special De Luxe Editions, with a total of 48 striking color illustrations by Arthur Rackham, in dust jackets. Both volumes have tan cloth boards with an embossed device on the front and gilt titles and decorations along the spine. Boards show minor marks and are otherwise very good. Interior pages are clean and sharp, except for a narrow strip of browning along the inside edges of the pastedowns. Illustrated dust jackets are in good condition but have some small areas of edge chipping and small open tears along the edges and along hinges. Flap of one jacket is nearly detached. Minor rubbing and scuffing to jackets. Both jackets are protected from further damage with removable plastic covers. Volumes are unpaginated. DRA/083019. Very Good / Good.