When Ward Ritchie died in 1996, he bequeathed his personal library to the Clark. Amongst its many treasures was a collection of works by François-Louis Schmied, a Parisian book artist and printmaker with whom Ritchie studied during the 1930’s. Schmied’s mastery of the xylographic process, his use of color, and his sense of pattern and sequence is unparalleled in the world of the livre d’artiste.
Bit by bit, the Clark Library has been able to add works produced or illustrated by Schmied, and our latest acquisition is the 1923 edition of Gustave Flaubert’s Salammbô. Printed in a limited edition of 1,030 copies, our copy is no. 446 of 850 that are printed on “Velin de pur Chiffon des Papeteries de Voiron.” The text was printed by Frazier-Soye for “Le Livre.” The book was originally bound in navy wrappers with the title stamped in silver, but this copy has been sensitively rebound into half vellum with marbled paper boards and endpapers. The aubergine, brown, pink, violet, navy blue, and lavender colors of the marbling has been enhanced with gold for even more richness. The title on the spine is in manuscript and includes a charming pen and ink drawing, presumably of Salammbô herself. The original paper wrapper has been bound in.
For more information on Schmied, we recommend the book Art Deco : the Books of François-Louis Schmied, Artist / Engraver / Printer : with Recollections and Descriptive Commentaries on the Books by Ward Ritchie ; with a preface by Lawrence Clark Powell. Published by the Book Club of California in 1987. To see more of his work, come for a visit.