Archive for August, 2012

Extra, extra! See all about it: Extra-illustrated books at the Clark

August 28, 2012

There are many elements that contribute to the value of a book as an object, encoding meaning outside of the text itself that can, nonetheless, be read. One artifactual element is illustration and, within the broad world of illustrated printed books, is a subset of copies that have had illustrations added to them after they have been printed and published. The term we use for these is “extra-illustrated books.” Often, the added illustrations are engraved plates, such as portraits or maps, and sometimes they are unique drawings in pen and ink, pencil, or watercolor. Naturally, the addition of these illustrations makes each extra-illustrated book distinctive from the other books in its print run.

The Clark holds a variety of extra-illustrated books that display the possibilities inherent in the extra-illustrated. We have multiple copies of Oscar Wilde’s Intentions (London, 1891), but two are notable for the drawings added to their blank spaces. One copy (copy 1) was caricaturist and writer Max Beerbohm’s own copy of the text. It contains 17 drawings, including this whimsical Wildeish fop on the page facing the beginning of “Pen Pencil and Poison.”

Another copy of that same edition in the Clark’s collection (copy 3) contains four pencil sketches, also apparently by Beerbohm, including this Wildeian gentleman, also drawn on the page facing the start to “Pen Pencil and Poison.”

How do the illustrations inform the text? How different would your experience reading Intentions be if you read Beerbohm’s own copy (copy 1), the other Beerbohm-illustrated copy (copy 3), or the same edition sans illustration?

Another example of an extra-illustrated book in the Clark’s collections is a 17th century English-language edition of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s The History of the Valorous and Witty-Knight-Errant, Don-Quixote (London, 1652). One of the Clark’s two copies (copy 2) has nine engraved plates bound into the printed text, including this one of Don Quixote being knighted at the inn.

These plates were engraved for a later edition of the text by Flemish engraver Gerard Van der Gucht, whose illustration attempts to impart the contextual absurdity of Quixote’s knighthood. The Clark’s other copy of this edition (copy 1) does not contain these plates.

How does your experience of the texts change with the addition of these illustrations? Visit the Clark and take a look at the differences for yourself!

The Famous Aldine Edition of the First Numismatic Book

August 24, 2012

From Clark Library Volunteer, Marvin Lessen

The Roman Denarius silver coin bearing the dolphin and anchor emblem has become a symbol of the Aldus Manutius colophon device and served as the subject of Dr. Terry Belanger’s lecture “Parallel Lines Never Meet: Dolphins & Anchors & Aldus/ Book Historians & Numismatists & Roman Coins.” This coin, an extremely nice example, was donated to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library by Dr. Belanger, following his lecture on 9 February 2012. The Clark is lucky to have such an interesting and historic coin in its collection.

The coin is a silver denarius of Domitian, when he was Augustus, depicting his laureate head, facing right, and the issue date is considered  to be late in AD 81.

Head of the Roman Denarius silver coin

The obverse anti-clockwise legend is:  IMP CAES DOMITIANVS AVG PM ( Imperator Caesar Domitianvs Augustus Pontifex Maximus).

The reverse depicts an anchor with an entwined dolphin, a motif perhaps related to Neptune, and reads:  TR P COS VII DES VIII PP ( Tribunicia Potestate Consul  VII     Des[ignatio?] VIII Pater Patriae).

Its size, weight and silver content were not measured, but other examples are about 18 mm and 3.3 g.  The silver content could best be estimated using a specific gravity test.

References:  Roman Imperial Coinage, RIC, vol. II, 1st ed. 1926,  (20); RIC, vol. II, revised ed. 2007, (54); old Sear, Roman Coins and their Values, 1964 (798); Cohen (568); Carradice, Issue 82.1 Rev. Type 111.  (References courtesy Caroline Holmes and David Fanning).

The Famous Aldine Edition of the First Numismatic Book: by Guillaume Budé

Budaeus, Guillielmus. libri v. de asse, & partib. eius. (Venice, 1522): Venetiis in Aedibus Aldi, et Andreae Asulani Soceri Mense Septembri. M.D. XXII. (12), 262 [actually 260 leaves as issued, numbers 158, 159 & 160 being combined on 1 leaf, so headed], (2) printed leaves, woodcut printer’s device on title

Verso of colophon [the anchor and dolphin], capital spaces with guide letters. 4to. Brückmann page 21. Dekesel B 124. Lipsius page 60. Kress 31. Brunet 29062.

Budé in his work De Asse et Partibus established the exact meanings of the monetary terminology of Greek and Roman antiquity, as well as the value of not only of Roman, but also of Greek coins compared to those coins of his own time. Budé’s work, published in 1514, was well-received into the seventeenth century.  This early edition of De Asse et Partibus was printed at the Aldine Press in Venice and is one of the earliest works printed in italic type. Aldus Manutius was the founder of the press.  He designed and used the first italic type, which is founded on the handwriting of Petrarch. Aldus died in 1515, and this volume was printed by his family.

A well-known printer’s mark, the dolphin and anchor, was first used by Aldus in 1501.  The design was likely taken from that of a 1st century AD Roman Denarius similar to the coin featured.

(bibliographic information supplied by George F. Kolbe)

Character Building

August 15, 2012

From Nina Schneider, Head Cataloger

Type specimens have a long history in the world of printing. The first known example is Erhard Ratdolt printed sheet from 1486, discovered by chance bound into a contemporary codex. If one reads (or reviews) Daniel Berkeley Updike’s seminal work on the subject, it will come as no surprise that the bespoke types of the sixteenth-century printing house gradually evolved into commercial stock books by the eighteenth-century once the roles of printer, compositor, punchcutter, and typecaster were clarified.

The Clark has an excellent collection of type specimen books and pamphlets including faces cut by John Fell for Oxford University, those of Caslon, Bodoni, Gill, the International Typeface Corporation, and the late, great American Type Founders Company (ATF). Although printed specimens are more endangered than the rainforest, we have recently received a couple of interesting items:

So Long, Hot-Metal Men: The Comprehensive Bird & Bull Type Specimen Book by Henricus De Nova Villa [Henry Morris, to his friends], is a limited edition work published in 2007, but recently acquired by the Library. In it, we get a glimpse of the varied typefaces that have been used in the nearly 75 year career of Morris and the decisions that went into choosing each face. Beautifully printed, this book finds a happy home in the Clark’s fine press collection where the researcher will find a few of the Bird & Bull publications that are mentioned in this title.

Russell Maret’s most recent publication, Specimens of Diverse Characters, was completed in 2011 and features Maret’s original type designs, as well as letters inspired by specific texts and authors, both ancient and modern. The Clark is lucky enough to own a copy of the deluxe edition, which includes not only the volume of sixteen alphabets within contextual settings, but an additional suite of poofs and a sample of standing type used in printing the book. Maret’s designs are drafted on a computer, but working with Micah Currier of the Dale Guild Type Foundry, two of the sixteen typefaces were cast in foundry metal, set, and printed on handmade paper. The Dale Guild has a large collection of moulds and “thousands” of ATF matrices acquired by founder, Theo Rehak, a former employee of ATF. Although Maret is not selling his typefaces, we can be satisfied knowing we can study them in his future publications.

Russell Maret’s Specimens of Diverse Characters (Photograph by Annie Schlechter, courtesy of Russell Maret)

For more on the subject, see Daniel Berkeley Updike’s Printing Types: Their History, Forms, and Use (4th ed. DE: Oak Knoll, 2001), particularly volume 1, chapter XI and volume 2, p. [297]. To see examples of specimens at the Clark Library, search the UCLA Library catalog under the subjects, “Type and type-founding—Specimens” or “Printing—Specimens.” For more background on the making of Maret’s book, see Blog of Specimens of Diverse Characters, published in a limited edition in 2012.

Scholars gone Wilde: an NEH Summer Seminar at the Clark

August 9, 2012

Earlier this summer, the Clark Library was graced with the presence of 16 new scholars under the direction of UCLA Professor of English and authority on Oscar Wilde, Joe Bristow.  These 17 minds were gathered together for a five-week long National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar at the Clark Library entitled “Oscar Wilde and His Circle.”  As the third NEH seminar on Wilde to be held at the Clark, this incarnation made great use of Wilde’s manuscripts and personal papers, as well as extending the range of view to his circle of friends and colleagues.

The seminar’s participants met in the Clark’s Drawing Room for discussions, and used the reading room extensively, often doubling up on tables or queueing up to gain access to the same manuscript.  The library staff was kept on our toes, learning a lot more about the collection along the way.

Wilde Scholars in the Drawing Room

Many thanks to Professor Bristow and all of the scholars in attendance for giving such attention and life to our Oscar Wilde holdings.

“I’ll-bet-you-didn’t-know-it-was-at-the-Clark, part 1: an introduction to Mr. Tenniel”

August 3, 2012

This week’s post is from Head Librarian, Gerald Cloud.

After almost one year since joining the Clark, I have learned that there is a category of books and manuscripts here that might be placed under the heading: I’ll-bet-you-didn’t-know-it-was-at-the-Clark.  One of these items is an interesting letter that Mr. Clark himself purchased from the bookseller A. S. W. Rosenbach in September 1926.  The letter, shown below, was hand written on a single sheet, folded once to make four pages, dated December 20, 1863:

The letter is signed by C.L. Dodgson, a.k.a. Lewis Carroll, and the “Dear Sir” he addresses is the English dramatist and longtime contributor and editor of Punch magazine, Tom Taylor.  The topic of the letter?  Mr. Dodgson seeks an introduction to a Mr. Tenniel, and wonders if Taylor knows the man well enough “to say whether he could undertake such a thing as drawing a dozen wood-cuts to illustrate a child’s book…?”  Taylor provided an introduction a month later and, according to Dodgson’s diary, Tenniel consented in April 1864, to produce the desired illustrations.  When Mr. Clark purchased the letter shown here it was included in a volume of the book in question.

The book of course is Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the “Tenniel” in question is John Tenniel, now famous for his Alice illustrations. The letter is a stunning document of the almost casual process by which Dodgson, i.e., Lewis Carroll came to produce one of the most enduring books of the last two centuries, and a testament to the discerning eye of Mr. Clark as a collector.  Watch this blog for future entries describing items from the I’ll-bet-you-didn’t-know-it-was-at-the-Clark category.