New York: Limited Editions Club, 1934. Hardcover. Number 930 of 1500 copies signed by Pablo Picasso. This famed edition of Aristophanes's play Lysistrata is considered by many critics to be one of the very finest books published by Limited Editions Club. One of the most ribald works of antiquity,it is illustrated here with Picasso’s magnificent etchings and drawings. It is the only American publication with original etchings by Pablo Picasso and signed by him. Many scholars feel his etchings in this volume are among his most important in the classical style. This edition contains the translation of Gilbert Seldes who translated the text for a stage revival. Seldes was an American writer and cultural critic who served as the editor and drama critic of the seminal modernist magazine The Dial. George Macy, the founder of Limited Editions Club, wrote of this edition, which he designed: "To illustrate Lysistrata, Picasso has given us six etched copperplates and forty pencil drawings. Each plate, each drawing, bears witness to his mastery of method and technique. His line is sure, confident; it cries out to the world that the man who drew it knows what he was about. And the line is pure, it is that sort of line of which even the Greeks used to say that this is 'pure Grecian line.' The etchings which Picasso did for the edition were printed by hand by Charles Furth of New York." [George Macy Imagery Blog]. Bound in heavy boards covered with a three color patterned paper of cream, red, and blue with a design made by LeRoy Appleton from the Picasso drawings. The binding is very good + with very slight edge wear. In a glassine cover that is split along spine and torn along edges. The interior text pages and original etchings are clean and bright in near fine condition. Housed in a blue cloth chemise slipcase that unfortunately is soiled, stained, and worn, with top and bottom edges of chemise missing. Title spine to slipcase is partly detached and soiled. Printed in Caslon types in black and sanguine on Rives paper. Prospectus laid in. Despite problems with slipcase and glassine wrapper the book itself is beautiful. Quarto. 117 pages plus colophon. PRI/100521. Near Fine in Poor Slipcase.
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Riverside, CA: Bo Press Miniature Books, 2020. Hardcover. Number 15 of 24 copies. Signed and numbered by Pat Sweet. She writes: “The English Toy Theatre” is the first book devoted to this charming souvenir of the Victorian stage since George Speaight’s “A History of the English Toy Theatre” in 1946. With texts by artist and toy theatre enthusiast Tom Knechtel and illustrations drawn from Knechtel’s extensive collection of toy theatre sheets, it is a beautifully detailed portrait of the 19th century English stage as seen through the lens of a children’s pastime.The book is, in itself, a theatrical performance, as it moves from surprise to surprise, from tableau to spectacle. It is the most ambitious book in Bo Press’s history of creating books that entertain us while challenging our preconceptions of what the book is. The three-volume set is in a limited edition of 24, with the first volume (the one with the history) produced as an unlimited edition The book consists of three volumes in a black moire silk-covered slipcase, each volume bound in the Union Jack with black moire silk spines. The first volume consists of a history of the toy theatre and its publishers, a short memoir by Knechtel of how he fell in love with the theatre, and a fragment from a toy theatre play. There are numerous black and white illustrations with colored endpapers drawn from the theatre. The second volume is an elaborate set of black and white pop-up scenes from toy theatre plays, which culminates in an anarchic recreation of one of the surreal pantomimes that are such a feature of toy theatre plays. The third volume is a portfolio which, when opened, reveals a complete toy theatre in glorious color. The theatre includes a curtain which can be raised and a trick in the pantomime taking place on stage. (The proscenium was painted by Knechtel and includes an orchestra of cats.) Below the stage is a small pocket containing a tiny book , “The Toy Theatre in Performance,” which describes how the theatre actually worked." The books are 2 7/8 x 2 1/8 inches. The slipcase is 3 3/8 x 2 5/8 x 2 1/8." In fine condition. PRI/060121. Fine.
Monmouthshire, England: The Old Stile Press, 2008. Hard Cover. Number 70 of 195 copies in Main Edition. Illustrated by Michael Onken and signed by him. This book came when the McDowells, proprietors of the press, discovered this text among the papers of George Mackay Brown. He wrote it in 1984 and it had a single public reading but was never published. The play draws on the tales of the Selkie folk. The American artist, Michael Onken, has found Orkney to be his "spiritual" home, and also was drawn to the Selkie legends. This book is a result of the play's discovery. Bound in cream cloth front cover with illustration in brown. Backing and rear board are blue linen. Housed in fine grey slipcase with paper illustration of Mackay Brown affixed to front. Designed and printed by Nicolas McDowell in Albertina type on grey Velin Arches paper. The artist's wood engravings, woodcuts,and linocut images were printed in black and white from the original blocks. Binding by The Fine Book Bindery using paper printed at The Old Stile Press. In fine condition. Unpaginated [56 pages]. PRI/061316. Fine.