University of Delaware Library
Special Collections Department

Book Arts

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments: Translated out of the Original Tongues and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised by His Majesty's Special Command; Appointed to Be Read in Churches.  Two volumes.  Oxford: Printed at the University Press, 1935.

Designed by Bruce Rogers

The history of printing and book design is an important collecting focus for the University of Delaware Library.  As one of the most celebrated pieces of printing produced in the twentieth century, the Oxford Lectern Bible (as it is known) is an exciting addition to the collection.  Although it was produced at the request of King George V to commemorate the Canadian soldiers who died in Ypres, France, during World War I, it was an American, Bruce Rogers (1870-1957), who designed the Bible while working in England with the Oxford University Press.  The Bible contains no ornament; its exceptional beauty comes from the elegant font and the clarity of the page layout.  For the typeface, Rogers used his own Centaur type, which he had based on that of the fifteenth-century Venetian printer, Nicolas Jensen, whose own type derived from the Humanist scripts of Renaissance manuscripts.  Although Rogers based the Bible’s appearance on early printed books, the Lectern Bible was produced using the Monotype typecasting machine.  As such, it is important as a pioneering work that showed how beautiful and well-designed books could be created using modern technology.

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates and Melva B. Guthrie Fund


The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version, Containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books. Two volumes.  San Francisco: Arion Press, 2000.

The Arion Press Bible follows in the tradition of the Gutenberg Bible of 1455 and Bruce Roger’s Lectern Bible of 1935.  Although a computer controlled the typesetting, the Arion Press Bible was produced on a traditional printing press, the same type of machine used by printers for over 500 years.  As such, it is a monument to traditional methods of book production, but it has also been updated to suit modern readers.  The font was designed for the sake of clarity and the text is the New Revised Standard Version rather than the King James Version, which Rogers used.  Technology has changed the printing industry considerably during the last century and now only fine presses typically use the letterpress process.  For this reason, the Arion Press Bible is likely to be the last large-format Bible produced by traditional methods.


Petrus Zaunslifer.
Tafereel van overdeftige zinnebeelden, gemaelt naer de deuchden, ondeuchden, gemoetsdriften der menschen, straffen Godts, en zegeningen.  Amsterdam: Gerard onder de Linden, 1722.

Emblem books first appeared in the sixteenth century and remained a popular genre for more than two hundred years.  Emblems are images that, combined with a short motto, offer the reader a moral message.  However, their symbolic message was not always immediately clear and was usually explained in an accompanying text. 

This example from a Dutch emblem book depicts a woman in disheveled dress holding both a monkey and a heron.  Behind her a large pig treads upon a bed of flowers.  The caption reads “on the vices of Man.”  According to the accompanying text, the woman’s unkempt appearance represents the confusion and chaos caused by Man’s wickedness; the heron symbolizes godlessness; the monkey symbolizes evil deeds; and the pig treading upon flowers is meant to illustrate the filth of vice that destroys virtue. 

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates 


James Bartram Nicholson.
A Manual of the Art of Bookbinding: Containing Full Instructions in the Different Branches of Forwarding, Gilding, and Finishing: also, the Art of Marbling Book-Edges and Paper: The Whole Designed for the Practical Workman, the Amateur, and the Book-Collector.  Philadelphia: H. C. Baird, 1856.

James Bartram Nicholson (1820-1901) was a noted American bookbinder.  His Manual of the Art of Bookbinding was the first such book published in the United States.  He put much faith in modern methods and ensured the reader in his introduction that 

…Upon comparing the merits of artists of ancient and modern times, it is to the moderns that we assign the palm of superiority, especially for perfection of detail in the ornamentation.

Many of the illustrations in Nicholson’s book depict the modern machinery that aided the work of the bookbinder.  Despite his attempts to modernize the art of bookbinding, by necessity the processes he described utilize ancient methods, like those needed to create the marbled paper shown here. 

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates 


William Morris.
News from Nowhere: or, an Epoch of Rest, Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance.  Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1892.

William Morris’s (1834-1896) admiration for the beauty and craftsmanship of early printed books led him to open the Kelmscott Press in 1890.  There he developed typefaces, ornaments, and illustrations that were reminiscent of Renaissance printing, but were also influenced by the aesthetic of the nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite and the Arts and Crafts movements. 

Morris’s interest in early printing was not only an aesthetic one.  He was also an outspoken Socialist who wished to take a stand against the oppressive factory system.  The Kelmscott Press was set up to function like the workshop of a skilled craftsman rather than a modern factory.  News from Nowhere, Morris’s famous Socialist novel, is a Utopian fantasy that tells the story of a man who awakes the morning after a Socialist League meeting in a Socialist paradise, where people are free and equal and poverty has been abolished.  At the book’s end, the man returns to his own time, but is inspired to bring about what he has dreamed. 


Alfred Lord Tennyson.
The Lady of Shalott.  New York: Dodd, Mead, 1881.

Illustrated by Howard Pyle

In the United States, as in England, the Arts and Crafts movement affected the way books were illustrated and produced.  This version of Tennyson’s poem, The Lady of Shalott, is an exceptional example of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic, which attempted to recreate the look and workmanship of earlier artisans. 

This particular book is an exciting addition to Special Collections, not only because of its importance for the history of book illustration, but also because the illustrator, Howard Pyle (1853-1911), was an important Delaware-born artist.  Throughout his career, Pyle illustrated a number of children’s books, including The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood (1883) and The Story of King Arthur and His Knights (1903). The Lady of Shalott was Pyle’s first children’s book.

Gift of Margaretta W. Chadwick


André Mellerio. La lithographie originale en couleurs; couverture et estampe de Pierre Bonnard. Paris: Publication de L'Estampe et L'Affiche, 1898.

In La lithographie, art critic and editor André Mellerio identified color lithography as the key artistic form at the end of the nineteenth century in France. Mellerio believed that during a time of explosive developments in artistic expression, color lithography in prints and posters was the common thread of the avant garde. He also suggested that lithography was a democratizing force, offering the general public access to quality original art at a low cost. His views were consistent with those of the Arts and Crafts movement popular in Britain and the United States at that time.

On the cover and the frontispiece are original lithographs by Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), the French painter and printmaker considered one of the great colorists of modern art. The edition was limited to one thousand copies.

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates


Henry Morris. The Booksellers of San Serriffe, by Theodore Bachaus. Newtown, Pa.: Bird & Bull Press, 2001.

Under his alter ego, Theodore Bachaus, printer and proprietor of the Bird & Bull Press, Henry Morris (1925-), makes another visit to the mythical Republic of San Serriffe. In the process he directs his satiric pen towards a variety of contemporary booksellers and figures in the book arts community.

The University of Delaware Library houses one of the most complete collections of the Bird & Bull Press and is the repository for the Bird & Bull Press archives.


A Keepsake to Celebrate the Eighth Oak Knoll Book Festival: from Newcastle-on-Tyne in England to New Castle on the Delaware. Lancashire, England: Incline Press, 2001.

Firmly established by its eighth anniversary in 2001, the internationally acclaimed Oak Knoll Fest attracts a dedicated following of bibliophiles and lovers of fine printing. On October 5 & 6, 2002, presses from Russia, France, Germany, UK, Canada, and the United States will exhibit their work. The Festival is hosted by Oak Knoll Books, which was founded by Robert D. Fleck in 1976. Oak Knoll Books specializes in books about book collecting, bookselling, bibliography, libraries, publishing, private press printing, fine printing, bookbinding, book design, book illustration, calligraphy, graphic arts, marbling, papermaking, printing, typography, and type specimens, plus books about the history of these fields - all subjects that complement the collecting interests of the University of Delaware Library. The Library receives regular additions to the Archives of Oak Knoll Books and Oak Knoll Press, which are housed in Special Collections.

from the Archives of Oak Knoll Books and Oak Knoll Press
Gift of Robert D. Fleck


 

ARTISTS' BOOKS

Mark Beard. Manhattan Third Year Reader.  New York: Vincent Fitz Gerald & Company, 1984.

In the Manhattan Third Year Reader, Mark Beard combines autobiography and dreams to portray his arrival in New York City as a young artist.  Having grown up as a Mormon in Utah, he expresses his awe and excitement at seeing the vibrant New York art scene for the first time.  There he finds Tennessee Williams, Virgil Thomson, James Purdy, and other celebrities.

This copy is number 10 of 30 copies.  The illustrations are produced by linoleum cuts with additional printed images appliquéd.  The autobiographical text is a silk-screened image of the artist's own handwriting.  The book was bound by Gérard Charrière.

Melva B. Guthrie Fund


Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi. On the Art of Painting; interpreted by Zahra Partovi; etchings by Annette Senneby. New York: Vincent FitzGerald, 1989.

Maulana Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) was one of the great spiritual masters and poets of the Islamic world and was the founder of the Mawlawi Sufi order, a leading mystical sect. His impact on philosophy, literature, mysticism and culture throughout Central Asia has been great, with many religious scholars, mystics, and philosophers referring to his verse.

FitzGerald began his imprint twenty years ago as a way to bring artists and writers together. He hoped that his endeavor would facilitate collaboration and avoid the competitive climate of art-as-big-business. Each book of his books involves a minimum of fifteen people, sometimes working together for a period of years on a single project.

What is most striking about On the Art of Painting is the utter simplicity of the design. The use of blank space not only highlights the text, but also allows the viewer to see through the paper and see layers of design beneath.

Melva B. Guthrie Fund



Ted Hughes. Æschylvs Oresteia; A Version by Ted Hughes Woodcuts by Leonard Baskin. Rockport, Maine: The Gehenna Press, 2002.

This monumental work is the final collaboration between two giants of the modern fine press, the English Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and the artist Leonard Baskin. The two produced several books together since their first collaboration at Baskin's Gehenna Press in 1959. Baskin completed the Oresteia just days before his death. In this Greek tragedy of murder and revenge, Baskin's powerful woodcuts are juxtaposed with the austere design of the text which uses Bruce Rogers's Centaur and Arrighi types.

This copy of Oresteia is one of ten produced as a special set. The three volumes are bound in full leather by Claudia Cohen of Easthampton, Massachusetts, and include a separate suite of woodcuts, printed on a variety of Japanese and Italian handmade papers, a woodcut portrait of Ted Hughes drawn and cut by Baskin, and a sheet of Ted Hughes working manuscript. Also included is one of the original wood blocks and a preparatory drawing related to that block.

Special Collections holds over sixty works produced by the Gehenna Press including the collaborative works of Baskin and Hughes. They form part of the University's extensive collection of material on printing and the book arts.

Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates


FACSIMILES

Henry Shaw.
A Handbook of the Art of Illumination as Practised during the Middle Ages: with a Description of the Metals, Pigments, and Processes Employed by the Artists at Different Periods.  London: Bell and Daldy, 1866.

The popularity of the medieval style of art and architecture reached its height in the middle of the nineteenth century.  At that time, the Englishman, Henry Shaw (1800-1873), himself an engraver and illustrator, wrote a number of books on medieval illumination.  His reproductions of actual manuscript pages are made from his own careful drawings.  Despite the accuracy of his work, these representations are problematic for students of medieval art as one can never be sure what is a true representation of the manuscript and what is due to Shaw’s own style and manner of drawing.
Gift of the University of Delaware Library Associates and Melva B. Guthrie Fund


Die Bamberger Apokalypse.  Luzern: Faksimile Verlag Luzern, 2000.

During the twentieth century, the art of creating facsimiles has progressed.  In the last thirty years wonderful facsimiles have been produced of important medieval treasures, such as the Book of Durrow, the Book of Kells, and the Utrecht Psalter.  Because medieval manuscripts are unique and have special preservation requirements, studying original specimens is often difficult and involves extensive travel.  The continued efforts to create facsimiles that as closely as possible recreate the appearance of the original has made this work much easier.  At the University of Delaware Library, we try to add such useful publications to our collection.  Our latest addition is the Bamberger Apokalypse, a facsimile of an eleventh-century Ottonian manuscript that contains images and texts related to the end of the world.


 

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Last Modified March 19, 2009