Author Archives: Julie Mellby

The Country of the Blind privately printed

H. G. Wells, The Country of the Blind (New York: Privately printed [by Mitchell Kennerley], Christmas 1915). Aquatone frontispiece after a photograph by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Graphic Arts Collection 2019- in process

This is the first separate edition of one of the stories from the collaboration between H. G. Wells and Alvin Langdon Coburn, The Door in the Wall. Although there is no statement of limitation, a folded typed account of the book and its production, signed with initials by Mitchell Kennerley, states that two hundred copies were printed on handmade paper, typeset by Bertha Goudy.

The Country of the Blind was first published in The Strand magazine, April 1904, pp 201-15, with illustrations by Claude A. Shepperson.

The Fortunes of Mitchell Kennerley [Recap Z473.K45 B78 1986] was reviewed by Leonard Shatzkin, “Zero Royalty” in New York Times December 7, 1986. Here is a section:

MITCHELL KENNERLEY was a pioneer among American publishers. Only two years after he joined John Lane as a junior clerk at the Bodley Head in London, Kennerley was taken by Lane to New York. In ”The Fortunes of Mitchell Kennerley, Bookman,” Matthew J. Bruccoli says Kennerley always insisted Lane had put him in charge of the firm’s American branch then; he was 18 years old. Three years later, irritated with Kennerley’s failure to handle essential business details, Lane arrived at the New York offices unannounced, discovered that Kennerley had also been taking company money and fired him.

…Kennerley made significant contributions to book publishing and book collecting. From the start, he strove for the highest physical and artistic quality. His first office was in a New York building in which Frederic W. Goudy, America’s most famous typographer and type designer, was struggling to get started, and Kennerley used his services extensively. One of Goudy’s best-known and most important typefaces, Kennerley Old Style, grew out of that association.

Kennerley’s books were beautifully typeset, printed on high-quality paper that was often handmade and tastefully bound. Some were set into type by Bertha Goudy, Frederic’s talented wife. Alfred A. Knopf, who in his time set the standards of quality for the modern generation of publishers, acknowledged that his youthful apprenticeship with Kennerley associated him ”with a man who had a very fine sense of typography and of sound conservative book-making.” Among the many distinguished authors whose first or early works were represented among the 400 titles Kennerley published are Van Wyck Brooks, Frank Harris, D. H. Lawrence, Vachel Lindsay, Walter Lippmann, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Upton Sinclair, H. G. Wells and Oscar Wilde.

…In 1915, Kennerley became president of the Anderson Galleries. He continued to publish books for a time on a very much reduced scale, but auctions, particularly of rare books, became his main occupation. Later, as his financial fortunes drifted downward, he worked unsuccessfully in book retailing and even in printing. Kennerley ended in poverty, a lonely suicide in 1950 at the age of 71.

Madeline Gins, speculative fiction

Madeline Gins (1941-2014) was an American poet, writer and philosopher. She grew up in Island Park, NY, and graduated from Barnard College in 1962 where she studied physics and philosophy. While studying painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School in 1962, Gins met Arakawa and she would become one of the primary interpreters of Arakawa’s work.

Gins published three books: the experimental novel Word Rain (or a Discursive Introduction to the Intimate Philosophical Investigations of G,R,E,T,A, G,A,R,B,O, It Says) (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1969); What The President Will Say and Do!! (New York: Station Hill, 1984), an excursion into identity, language and free speech using the devices of political rhetoric; and Helen Keller or Arakawa (Santa Fe: Burning Books with East/West Cultural Studies, 1994), an art-historical novel that took on a form of speculative fiction.

With Arakawa, Gins developed the philosophy of ‘procedural architecture’ to further its impact on human lives. These ideas were explored through three books that she co-authored with Arakawa: Pour ne Pas Mourir/To Not to Die (Éditions de la Différence, Paris 1987); Architectural Body (University of Alabama Press, 2002); and Making Dying Illegal – Architecture Against Death: Original to the 21st Century (Roof Books, New York, 2006). …Gins also completed the manuscript for Alive Forever and the illustrated version of her poem Krebs Cycle.–http://www.reversibledestiny.org/arakawa-and-madeline-gins/madeline-gins



 

http://www.reversibledestiny.org/arakawa-and-madeline-gins/madeline-gins/bibliography1

Word rain; or, A discursive introduction to the intimate philosophical investigations of G,r,e,t,a, G,a,r,b,o, it says. New York, Grossman Publishers, 1969. Firestone Library » PS3557.I5 W6 1969; Rare Books Off-Site Storage » RECAP-94763388

For example (a critique of never) = Par esempio (una critica del mai): a melodrama / by Madeline Gins and Arakawa (from The mechanism of meaning). [Place of publication not identified]: A. Castelli, [1974?]. Rare Books Off-Site Storage » RECAP-94765342

The mechanism of meaning: work in progress (1963-1971, 1978) based on the method of Arakawa / Arakawa and Madeline H. Gins; [editor, Ellen Schwartz]. New York: H. N. Abrams, 1979. N7359.A7 G56; Rare Books Off-Site Storage » RECAP-97151300

What the president will say and do!! / Madeline Gins. Barrytown, N.Y.: Station Hill, c1984. Rare Books Off-Site Storage » RECAP-33922780

To not to die / Arakawa, Madeline Gins = Shinanai tame ni / Arakawa Shūsaku, Madorin Ginzu; Miura Masashi yaku. Tōkyō: Riburo Pōto, 1988. PS3557.I5 T66 1988

Helen Keller or Arakawa / Madeline Gins. Santa Fe, N.M.: Burning Books; New York: East-West Cultural Studies: D.A.P., distributor, c1994. PS3557.I5 H44 1994; Rare Books Off-Site Storage » RECAP-94763370

Reversible destiny: Arakawa/Gins / [organized by Michael Govan]. New York: Guggenheim Museum: Distributed by H.N. Abrams, c1997. Marquand Library » Oversize N7359.A7 G562 1997q

Architectural body / Madeline Gins and Arakawa. Tuscaloosa, Ala.; London: University of Alabama Press, c2002. Architecture Library » NA2500 .G455 2002. Marquand Library » NA2500 .G455 2002

Making dying illegal: architecture against death: original to the 21st century / Arakawa and Madeline Gins; introduction by Jean-Jacques Lecercle. New York: Roof Books, 2006. HQ1073 .A73 2006g

Candy Mountain

Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer, Candy Mountain (Zurich: Metropolis Film World Sales / Xanadu Film, [1987]). Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process.

The Graphic Arts Collection recently acquired the original promotional book and program for the film Candy Mountain written by Rudy Wurlitzer and directed by Wurlitzer and Robert Frank. “The film was set in New York City and Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where both men have homes. It is a road film, based upon the lives and journeys of the collaborators. Music and musicians have played large roles in each man’s life; therefore, many of the roles in the film are played by musicians.” Both the preview video and the full movie are available on YouTube, linked in below.

The cast includes Kevin J. O’Connor, Harris Yulin, Tom Waits, Bulle Ogier, Leon Redbone, Dr. John, David Johansen, Rita MacNeil, and Ralph Carney. The booklet offers a synopsis, interviews with Frank and Wurlitzer, a filmography, selected exhibition list and bibliography for both principals, and selected chronology for several of the actors and musicians.

“Review/Film; Hitting the Highway. Candy Mountain directed by Robert Frank, Rudy Wurlitzer” by Caryn James, New York Times June 10, 1988:

In an 80’s twist on Jack Kerouac’s myth of the open road, ”Candy Mountain” presents the least self-reflective hero ever to hit the highway. Julius (Kevin O’Connor) is a sometime guitarist and a persistent con man, hired to track down a reclusive, brilliant guitar maker named Elmore Silk. The directors, Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer (who also wrote the screenplay), set Julius traveling on the fringes of society, for the film asserts, in its lighthearted, unpretentious way, that the spirit of our times can be found in those margins. It turns out to be a sardonic spirit, embodied in Julius’s mercenary quest for a guru who refuses to dispense wisdom. …The film avoids oracular statements, so when Elmore says, ”Freedom doesn’t have much to do with the road one way or another,” it takes on the authority of simple truth. ”Candy Mountain” … seems to be a small, quirky film, but it easily assumes the weight, ambition and success that many larger films aim for and miss.

Preview

Film. See 19:58 Waits sings “Once more before I go.”

Proofs of papal coins


A curious collection of proof etchings of coins and medals from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries from the Papal mint of Bologna, with a few coins depicting ‘temporal’ rulers such as Giovannni II Bentivoglio of Bologna, Giovanni Sforza (first husband of Lucrezia Borgia), and Charles V, the great enemy of the Papacy.

The manuscript notes that accompany a few of the plates, referring to books or noting prices, might suggest that the etchings were produced to document a private collection. It is also possible that these were proof etchings for a publication on the subject, although no numismatic reference book with such illustrations has been found.

“The mint of the Emperor Henry VI was established at Bologna in 1194, and nearly all of the coins struck there bear the motto BONONIA DOCET, or BONONIA MATER STUDIORUM. The baiocchi of Bologna were called bolognini; the gold bolognino was equivalent to a gold sequin. The lira, also a Bolognese coin, was worth 20 bolognini. These coins were struck in the name of the commune; it is only from the time when Bologna was recovered by the Holy See, under Clement VI, that Bolognese coins may be regarded as papal.”–http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10334a.htm

Oliver Cromwell


The Laurence Hutton Death Mask collection includes 3 copies of the Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) death mask from the original at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Note only one has a wart over the eyebrow. Hutton wrote about them in Portraits in Plaster, pp. 206-13, quoted here at length.

…Cromwell, according to the Commonwealth Mercury of November 23, 1658, was buried that day at the east end of the chapel of Henry VII., in Westminster Abbey. Dean Stanley accepted this as an established fact, notwithstanding the several reports, long current, that the body was thrown into the Thames, or laid in the field of Naseby, or carried to the vault of the Claypoles in the parish church of Northampton, or stolen during a heavy tempest in the night, or placed in the coffin of Charles I. at Windsor, Mr. Samuel Pepys being responsible for the last wild statement. After the Restoration this same Mr. Pepys saw the disinterred head of Cromwell in the interior of Westminster Hall, although all the other authorities agree in stating that, with the heads of Ireton and Bradshaw, it adorned the outer walls of that building. It may be stated, by the way, that a trustworthy friend of Mr. Pepys, and a fellow-diarist, one John Evelyn witnessed “the superb funeral of the Lord Protector.”

He was carried from Somerset House in a velvet bed-of-state to Westminster Abbey, according to this latter authority; and “it was the joyfullest funeral I ever saw, for there were none that cried but dogs, which the soldiers hooted away with a barbarous noise, drinking and taking tobacco in the streets as they went.” It does not seem to have occurred to Mr. Evelyn, or to other eye-witnesses of the funeral, that this was a mock ceremonial, and that the actual body of the Protector was not in the hearse. Both Horace Smith and Cyrus Redding, early in the present century, saw what they fully believed to be the head of Cromwell. It was then in the possession of “a medical gentleman” in London. “The nostrils,” said Redding, “were filled with a substance like cotton. The brain had been extracted by dividing the scalp. The membranes within were perfect, but dried up, and looked like parchment. The decapitation had evidently been performed after death, as the state of the flesh over the vertebrae of the neck plainly showed.

A correspondent of the London Times, signing himself “Senex,” wrote to that journal, under date December 31, 1874, a full history of this head, in which he explained that at the end of five-and-twenty years it was blown down one stormy night, and picked up by a sentry, whose family sold it to one of the Cambridgeshire Russells, who were the nearest living descendants of the Cromwells. By them it was sold, and it was exhibited at several places in London. “Senex” gave the following account of the recognition of the head by Flaxman, the sculptor: “Well,” said Flaxman, I know a great deal about the configuration of the head of Oliver Cromwell. He had a low, broad forehead, large orbits to his eyes, a high septum to the nose, and high cheekbones; but there is one feature which will be with me a crucial test, and that is that instead of having the lower jawbone somewhat curved, it was particularly short and straight, but set out at an angle, which gave him a jowlish appearance. The head,” continued “Senex,” “exactly answered to the description, and Flaxman went away expressing himself as convinced and delighted.”

Another, and an earlier account, dated 1813, says that “the countenance has been compared by Mr. Flaxman, the statuary, with a plaster cast of Oliver’s face taken after his death [of which there are several in London], and he [Flaxman] declares the features are perfectly similar.” Whether or not the body of the real Cromwell was dug up at the Restoration, and whether his own head, or that of some other unfortunate, was exposed on a spike to the fury of the elements for a quarter of a century on Westminster Hall, are questions which, perhaps, will never be decided. The head which Flaxman saw, as it is to be found engraved in contemporary prints, is not the head the cast of which is now in my possession, although it bears a certain resemblance thereto. Mine is probably “the cast from the face taken [immediately] after his death,” of which, as we have seen, several copies were known to exist in Flaxman’s time. It is, at all events, very like to the Cromwell who has been handed down to posterity by the limners and the statuaries of his own court.

Thomas Carlyle was familiar with it, and believed in it, and he avowedly based upon it his famous picture of the Protector: “Big massive head, of somewhat leonine aspect; wart above the right eyebrow; nose of considerable blunt aquiline proportions; strict yet copious lips, full of all tremulous sensibility, and also, if need were, of all fierceness and rigor; deep, loving eyes, call them grave, call them stern, looking from under those shaggy brows as if in lifelong sorrow, and yet not thinking it sorrow, thinking it only labor and endeavor; on the whole, a right noble lion-face and hero-face; and to me it was royal enough.” The copy of the Cromwell mask in the Library of Harvard College is thus inscribed: “A cast from the original mask taken after death, once owned by Thomas Woolner, Sculptor. It was given by him to Thomas Carlyle, who gave it, in 1873, to Charles Eliot Norton, from whom Harvard College received it in 1881.”

A copy of this mask in plaster is in the office of the National Portrait Gallery, in Great George Street, Westminster; and a wax mask, resembling it strongly, although not identical with it, is to be seen in the British Museum. This latter, which is broken in several places, lacks the familiar wart above the right eyebrow. There is no record of either of these casts in either institution, and the authorities and experts of both have no knowledge as to how and when they found their way to their present resting-places.

Rev. Mark Xoble, in his House of Cromwell, however, said that the representative in London of Ferdinand II., of Tuscany, bribed an attendant of Cromwell to permit him to take in secret “a mask of the Protector in plaster of Paris, which was done only a few moments after his Highness’s dissolution.” “A cast from this mould,” he added, “is now in the Florentine Gallery. It is either of bronze, with a brassy hue, or stained to give it that appearance.” Elsewhere Mr. Noble said, writing in 1737, that “the baronial family of Russell are in possession of a wax mask of Oliver, which is supposed to have been taken off while he was living.” After a careful study of all the Florentine galleries in the winter of 1892-93, 1 failed to find this copy of the Cromwell mask or any record of its ever having existed there, although the Pitti Palace contains an original portrait of Cromwell from life by Sir Peter Lely, which was presented by the Protector to this same Grand Duke Ferdinand II.

see also: https://www.princeton.edu/~graphicarts/2008/10/life_and_death_masks.html

The Sun – El Astro Brillante

Invitacion al mundo filosofico para reconocer al sol. verdadero iman conocido [Invitation to the philosophical world to recognize the sun. The true known magnet] found in: J.L.T. .., Historia sucinta de un feliz descubrimiento hecho en uno de los paises del Asia (Madrid: [Don Tomás Jordan, impresor de camara de S.M], 1836). Cover: Descubrimiento oriental, representado en una lamina fina. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

This small, obscure brochure has one engraving by Esteban Boix (born 1774) after a design by D. Domingo presenting Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727); Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) and others contemplating the sun with the author “J.L.T.”

The anonymous writer relates how “he grappled with the nature of light – its propagation, materiality, interaction with the eye etc. – by reading the theories of Lavoisier, ‘immortal’ Newton, Descartes, Huygens, Bernoulli, and Malbranche, but was left confused and dissatisfied.

So one night in summer 1832 he undertook to travel mentally into space to contemplate the sun (‘el astro brillante’), traveling for three quarters of an hour and being oblivious to a fire raging in his village. While the experience left him with a three-day headache, it revealed the sun to him as ‘elVerdadero Iman’, and a new science styled ‘Imanica’.”

This is the only recorded copy in the United States. Thanks to our dealer for the transcription/translation.

Leon Underwood


Thanks to the generous gift of Kristina Miller, our colleague for many years in the Office of the Dean of the Faculty at Princeton University, the Graphic Arts Collection is the proud new owner of The Siamese Cat written and illustrated by the British artist Leon Underwood.

Leon Underwood studied at the Royal College and the Slade School of Art, before founding the Brook Green School of Art in Hammersmith, London, where he trained such artists as Henry Moore in wood carving, and Gertrude Hermes and Blair Hughes Stanton in wood engraving.

By 1925 Underwood moved to New York City where he brought his School of Art to Greenwich Village and became active in the local wood engraving network. He supported his art with commercial jobs illustrating books and magazines while exhibiting his prints alongside John Taylor Arms, Charles Sheeler, and Wanda Gag among others. It was at this time that he wrote and illustrated The Siamese Cat for Brentanos.

Thanks to Elmer Adler, the Graphic Arts Collection also holds two self portraits by Underwood, shown here. [left] Leon Underwood (1890-1975), Self-portrait, 1922. Etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.00928.

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Leon Underwood (1890-1975), The Siamese Cat (New York: Brentanos, 1928). Woodcut illustrations by the author. Gift of Kristina Miller. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

 

A thought and an action or an object are synonymous to most cats.
Leon Underwood (1890-1975), Self-portrait in a landscape, ca. 1921. Etching. Graphic Arts Collection GA 2005.00927.

 

 

In 1931 Underwood and Joseph Bard, a Hungarian poet and an expatriot in Britain, co-founded The Island, a journal of art and literature, today only available at the Huntington Library and Emory University Library. He continued to travel, visiting West Africa in 1945 and returning with a large collection of African art, some of which he later sold to the British Museum.

 

 

 

See also the webpage below:

The Portraits of Leon Underwood by Simon Martin

 

Forms of the Book in the East

 

Martin Heijdra, Director of the East Asian Library at Princeton University, welcomed members of the IAS/Princeton workshop “Formats of the Book in East Asia and Environs” to Firestone Library and the Institute for Advanced Studies this week.

Below is the complete list of treasures Martin pulled for the group, beginning with two rare facsimiles of the Bamboo and wooden slips (Chinese: 简牍; pinyin: jiǎndú) used in China before paper. Also included were spectacular examples of book formats from South East Asia and regions beyond China.


The overall aims of the project are listed as:
The Book and the Silk Roads: Phase I” is a 2-year Mellon Foundation-funded project of the University of Toronto’s Old Books, New Science lab. The grant’s purpose is to challenge the triumphalist Western narrative of book history as a path of steps leading from the Christian codex to the Gutenberg press to the digital age. Instead, we seek to build and support a network consisting of scholars, curators, conservators, and scientists exploring significant developments in book technologies within a range of contexts, focusing particularly on occasions of cultural interchange or entanglement in the premodern world.


Amanda Goodman’s work on ephemeral documents from the Dunhuang cache has deeply inspired us, and we hope to build further points of connection with the community of Dunhuang researchers in the Princeton area. What stories can be told by exploring the varied formats and structures of the text-objects from the cache in Mogao’s Cave 17, or the recycled examination papers used as burial shoes in Turfan, now housed in Princeton’s East Asian Library collection? …

Although most of us are not part of this distinguished group, we can still appreciate the marvelous books and manuscripts being studied. Here are just a few images without commentary.



Note the corrections added to this manuscript by the author.

Unpublished drawing by F. O. C. Darley

Friends,

This angling drawing signed by F.O.C. Darley just turned up. It is not his usual work and we are having trouble matching it to a publication or project. Any thoughts would be appreciated at: jmellby@princeton.edu

 

Some interesting links that have been consulted:
https://www.brandywine.org/museum/exhibitions/magic-pencil-amazing-foc-darley
https://www.nypl.org/events/exhibitions/inventing-american-past-art-foc-darley
http://www.avictorian.com/Darley_Felix_Octavius_Carr.html

View Across the Rio Grande, the River of Death, from San Ygnacio, Texas

right

center

left

Eric Avery, View Across the Rio Grande, the River of Death, from San Ygnacio, Texas, 1983. Linoleum block print on handmade Okawara paper. 26 5/8 x 73¾ inches. 15/20. Gift of the artist. Graphic Arts Collection GAX 2019- in process

Dr. Avery writes, “The image was drawn [in 1983] on linoleum on the Rio Grande River bank, two blocks from my San Ygnacio home. During this time with many undocumented persons, including refugees fleeing the war in Central America, were crossing the river, an occasional body would be found floating in the river. The ones found near San Ygnacio were buried in a paupers section of the cemetery.

On the right side of the print, Michael Tracy is lying on the riverbank, with Henry Estrada, his partner, and myself standing at his side. Fishermen are in their boats in the river. Armed fighters from Central America are crossing in the middle of the print.”

 

The Texas/Mexico border

The artist notes that he kept a house in San Ygnacio  for 40 years, while also living elsewhere for work.  “Moving back now, the crisis on the Border is much worse than when I made the print. Then, the wars in Central America are represented by the armed men coming north. Now, Trump’s Wall is proposed to be constructed on the Riverbank where I made the print.”

 

Eric Avery is an artist/printmaker who became a physician during the Vietnam War in the 1970’s. In 1974, he received his medical degree from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas and then in 1978 completed his psychiatry training at the New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City. For forty years he has worked at the intersection of visual art and medicine, leaving the practice of medicine several times to concentrate on his art career. His social content prints explore issues such as Human Rights Abuses, and Social Responses to Disease (specifically HIV and Emerging Infectious Diseases), Death, Sexuality and the Body. His body of work is more thoroughly represented at www.docart.com.

This semester his work is highlighted in the exhibition: States of Health: Visualizing Illness and Healing on view at the Princeton University Art Museum through Sunday, February 2, 2020. https://artmuseum.princeton.edu/art/exhibitions/3617