In the introduction to our last Eric Gill list three years ago, we quoted Fiona MacCarthy, who said of Gill’s artistic legacy that “his immediacy lingers.” Three years later, we find ourselves again in a position to consider his bountiful contribution to the evolution of the book arts. Occasioned by the acquisition of a cache of original art—including a finished wood block—we offer a mix of material that covers a wide swath of an artistic career that spanned close to four decades. Beginning with the original artwork for Roger Fry’s 1910 Christmas card and bookended by his detailed drawing for the crucifix for the Blundell School chapel, which Gill executed in 1938—just two years before his death—this group presents a representative overview of Gill as calligrapher, sculptor, engraver, illustrator, and author.
In his introductory essay to The Gehenna Press: The Work of Fifty Years, Colin Franklin cites a contemporary interview Leonard Baskin had given in which he stated that “People like me who care about printing, constitute the tiniest lunatic fringe in the nation.” Judging from the range of those whose projects has been influenced by Baskin’s book work—whether directly or indirectly—that fringe has grown into a tapestry.
Inspired by Michael Kuch’s solo show, "Angels & Emblemata: Monotypes, Oils, and Intaglios by Michael Kuch," on view in our Gallery through May 4th, 2023, we took a deep dive into our shelves and assembled this list of work by illustrators and printers whose graphic sensibility derived from studying or working with Baskin—a list that, in addition to Kuch, includes Barry Moser, David Godine, Gillian Tyler, and others. Even from this relatively small sampling, one can see the deep, indelible impression Baskin left on the world of fine printing.
Now that we have turned the calendar page to a shiny new year, we thought it a fitting occasion to present our first list for 2023, which we have filled with shiny new acquisitions. We therefore offer for your consideration twenty-five recent arrivals in the area of American and English fine printing.
In this e-catalogue, we present a fairly representative cross-section of the output of the firm David Bryce & Son, which revolutionized the miniature book world around the turn of the 20th century.
Over the duration of our exhibit, “Word for Word: Four Artists in Conversation,” we have reflected on the look of language, on the parallels between the ways we see and the ways we speak and write. What is for us a source of wonder has been the central question for our current artists—Sarah Hulsey, Thomas Ingmire, Marianne Perlak, and Margaret Shepherd—and the primary pursuit of typographers and calligraphers who seek to reveal a text’s meaning by way of its own letters. With this in mind, we here offer highlights from “Word for Word” and from our own collection, setting out a landscape of letterforms rich in creativity and interpretation.
In presenting this list of new acquisitions in pop-ups and movables from a private collection, one is struck right away by the staying power of these marvels of paper engineering. What was created to provide visual entertainment in the pre-cinema age continues to find an audience in a world that is oversaturated in visual stimuli. From the peepshow, which commemorated landscapes and events in three dimensions in the 18th and 19th centuries, all the way up to modern practitioners, such as Edward Gorey, whose Tunnel Calamity shows how hard it is to ignore the proverbial elephant in the room; to the pop-up book, a format pioneered by 19th-century children’s book publishers like Dean and Sons and popularized in the 21st century by paper engineers like Robert Sabuda—the lineage that runs through this collection is like a thread that brings one of these paper sculptures to life.
For our 99th e-catalogue, we present a cross-section of Lynd Ward’s oeuvre from a small private collection. Those who have fallen under the spell Ward conjured from the dramatic interplay of light and dark in his wood engravings typically encounter it through the six wordless novels he published between 1929 and 1937. And yet, Ward illustrated more than 200 books over a half-century career. Ward imbued his spirit—the spirit of his age, of hope and resiliency, of grief and recognition—into each of his projects. As a collected corpus, such as that assembled here, they likewise portray the spirit of a life.
With the return of travel comes the expanded possibility for seeking out new treasures and pleasures to offer to our customers. The following list reflects the sort of variety we encountered in our search for the rare and the unusual.