In this list, we explore the art, literature, and culture of Italy. Although it is organized broadly—fine printing, illustrated books, children’s books, and a couple of books on Italian paper—what is striking about this grouping is how far-reaching and eclectic this selection is. Dante, of course, figures largely, from the Raamin-Presse’s juxtaposition of Goethe’s Faust with six songs from the Inferno, to Seamus Heaney’s translation of the Ugolino section of that same work, illustrated by Louis Le Brocquy. You will also find Dylan Thomas translated into Italian, as well as an Italian Christmas tale, retold by a Caldecott award-winner.
Since the advent of printing from movable type in the western world, the Bible has never been out-of-print. In its nearly six-century print run, this foundational text has taken many forms, the smallest of which have long been a focus of ours. In fact, the recent acquisition of a trio of important eighteenth-century thumb Bibles served as the impetus behind this list: joining the first illustrated edition of John Taylor’s Verbum Sempiternum and two fugitive derivative editions of John Harris’s History of the Bible is a wide-ranging group of items that spans the centuries: from a tiny Lord’s Prayer in a silver locket, to a French devotional for children in an elaborate contemporary red morocco binding. Their diminutive size makes miniature books more personal, and therefore, more our own, and there is no better example of this than the thumb Bible carried by a young soldier through the American Civil War, which can be found here.
The return of baseball and the New York Antiquarian Book Fair are two signs that spring is just around the corner. This year, the Fair celebrated its 60th Anniversary and took place from March 5-8 at the Park Avenue Armory. We exhibited newly-acquired items from across our specialty areas, including two pieces of Edward Gorey original art, a selection of items by Dard Hunter, an exceptional illustrated Haggadah printed on vellum, and a family-owned copy of Glimpses of Authors by Caroline Ticknor, extra-illustrated with manuscript materials from authors, such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
We are pleased to offer a well-balanced collection of books on the subject of paper decoration—from marbling in all its forms, to paste-paper. The bulk of the material in this collection came from the library formed by Charles A. Rheault, past president of the Society of Printers, and an old friend and longtime customer. Charlie worked at Riverside Press in his early years as a printer, where he also, according to his own notes, spent some time in the bindery marbling the edges of the giant unabridged Webster’s Dictionary. That experience formed the basis of his interest in marbling, and he sought out books outlining techniques for paper decoration, the history of the craft, and sample books from well-known marblers and paste-paper artists, such as Karli Frigge, Christopher Weimann, and Claire Maziarczyk.