Fine Books from the Veatchs Arts of the Book
The Veatchs Arts of the Book are now up to their Catalogue 72 – Fine Books. Books may have been invented as a means of relaying information, but they have been collected as works of art at least since the time of Jean Grolier. Grolier would undoubtedly be amazed at the array of ways books can be art today, he being a collector of fine bindings. Much in the way of art now comes from private presses focused on the artistic qualities of their works. Illustrations and color are available on a level impossible in Grolier's time. There is much to collect now in the way of book arts, and the Veatchs offer material that fits within the many subsets of what are now called the “book arts.”
There is probably no name more closely associated with typefaces than that of Giambattista Bodoni. Perhaps the “Giambattista” part is not so familiar, but Bodoni type is certainly as well known as they come. Bodoni, unsurprisingly, was an Italian printer and engraver, though now most known for his prolific creation of typefaces. He created great specimen books and fine editions of ancient works. However, he never got to see his masterpiece. Item 11 is the Manuale Typographica, two volumes containing over 250 specimens, published in an edition of 290 copies. Bodoni never saw it as he died five years before it was published in 1818. His widow and foreman worked together to publish this final tribute. Priced at $42,000.
Here is a book about another prolific type designer, one from the other side of the Atlantic, and the other side of a century in time. Frederic Goudy's extensive work in creating typefaces is even more remarkable since he didn't get started until he was 40 years old. His Goudy Old Style remains popular today, but there are many more created in his second 40 years. Item 99 is A Goudy Memoir, Essays by and about America's great type designer, published in 1987. $250.
Do you remember how hard it was sometimes to hold open a large broadsheet newspaper (do you remember newspapers)? Try this one on for size – Five Meters of Poems. These measured poems were written by the Peruvian poet Carlos Oquendo de Amat, who died in 1936. The translation and introduction come from David M. Guss, with woodcuts provided by the South American artist Antonio Frasconi. The concrete poetry (also called visual poetry) is described as “typographically playful.” The format could be called playful too, being a 5 meter wide accordion fold. Item 2. Published in 1986. $600.
Fine Books from the Veatchs Arts of the Book
Leonard Baskin's Icones.
Here's a book by a woman who couldn't keep away from the racetrack: My Suffolk Downs. Poems and Photographs by Melissa Shook. The Veatchs note that Melissa Shook came to Boston in 1974 to teach photography at MIT, “discovered Suffolk Downs, and over the next thirty years photographed the race track, concentrating on trainers, hot walkers, exercise riders, horse shoers, dentists, those who delivered hay, feed, and ice, and the jockeys and their agents.” Hopefully she had enough sense to stay away from the parimutuel windows. This is a new book, just published in 2012, printed at the Kat Ran Press, and signed by the author. Item 79. $155.
Item 75 is a book about a book: The Kelmscott Press Golden Legend, A Documentary History of Its Production. The Golden Legend was a medieval collection of pious material concerning saints. It was evidently quite popular, considering the number of manuscript copies of this pre-printing work still in existence today. The Kelmscott version was released in 1892... slowly. William Morris had intended for this to be the first work of the Kelmscott Press, but its size (three volumes) and complexity was such that he ended up publishing some shorter pieces first. This history of the Kelmscott printing was written by William S. Peterson and published in 1990. $600.
Item 7 is an interesting title: Icones Liborium Artifices. Being Actual, Putative, Fugitive, & Fantastical Portraits of Engravers, Illustrators & Binders. It is the work of Leonard Baskin, who was all of those (well, maybe not a bookbinder) and many other vocations, being an artist, sculpture, teacher, and operator of a private press. This book contains color portraits with shaped text of 32 people in the book arts field Baskin appreciated. Some of those included are Aubrey Beardsley, Sarah Prideaux, Dard Hunter, and Laurence Housman, along with many whose names are less familiar. This is one of 40 signed and numbered copies, produced at Baskin's Gahenna Press in 1988. $17,500.
The Veatchs Arts of the Book can be reached at 413-584-1867 or email@example.com. Their website is www.veatchs.com.