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Some Photo’s on Six Random Arion Press Books

Was in a local bookstore (Book Gallery in Phoenix) that had six Arion Press books for sale.  All I had with me was my iPhone, so I apologize for the less then stellar photo’s and backgrounds, but I thought I would pass on some of the photo’s, lousy as they may be. I should be getting my first set of Arion Press books early this week, so getting a look at these whetted my appetite.  {ed note: Note that prices listed are release prices direct from Arion and are not meant to imply current market cost, or sales price at Book Gallery.}

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

The first is the Captivity Narrative of Hannah Duston related by Cotton Mather, John Greenleaf Whittier, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau, with an introduction by Glenn Todd and 35 woodblock prints by Richard Bosman, 1987.  The cover has an amazing feel to it.  The paper is phenomenal, the type second to none.   I cannot say enough about this book.  It is stunning (so, yes, I bought it!).

Format (from Arion Press): 16-3/4 by 12-1/2 inches, 56 pages. The type is handset and Monotype Kennerley Bold with handset Neuland Inline for display. The paper is mouldmade Rives heavyweight. The boards are covered in Sugikawashi, a Japanese handmade paper containing cedar bark fibers; the spine is of a brown Italian linen cloth. Signed by the artist. Edition of 400 copies, $475, Out of print.

Arion Press, Captivity Narrative of Hannah Duston, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Captivity Narrative of Hannah Duston, Colophon
Arion Press, Captivity Narrative of Hannah Duston, Title Page
Arion Press, Captivity Narrative of Hannah Duston, Sample Page

The second is Le Désert de Retz: Le Jardin Pitoresque de Monsieur de Monville; A Late Eighteenth-Century French Folly Garden by Diana Ketcham, preface by Olivier Choppin de Janvry, text in English and French, illustrated with historical views of the park and related sites, facsimiles of the 26 engravings of Le Rouge from 1785, and 32 photographs of the grounds and fabriques by Michael Kenna, 1990. Beautiful.

Format (from Arion Press): 10 by 16 inches, 120 pages. The types are Monotype and handset Cochin and handset Cochin Open. The paper is Lustro dull-coat. Printed in offset lithography by Phelps-Schaefer. Bound in full blue Regina cloth, with grey-blue endpapers and labels. Edition of 400 copies, $375.00. Out of print.

Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Title Page Left Side
Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Title Page Right Side
Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Sample Page with Photos
Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Another Sample Page with Photos
Arion Press, Le Desert De Retz, Sample Page with Text

The third is Arcadia, a play by Tom Stoppard, with a foreword by the playwright, an introduction by Diana Ketcham, and four views of Sidley Park by William Matthews, 2001.  The illustrations are presented by fold outs from the front and back of the book, so that the reader can view all four illustrations at once while reading the book, helping immerse you in the setting (see photo below).  Pretty cool, I must say!

Format (from Arion Press): oblong, 11 by 14 inches, 132 pages. The types are Monotype Scotch Roman (introduced around 1810, during the earlier time of the play), composed and cast at Mackenzie & Harris; and handset Lilith, designed by Lucien Bernard in 1930. Printing of the text was by letterpress. The paper is mouldmade Zerkall. The illustrations were printed by Urban Digital Color in continuous tone, using a Roland Digital Pigment Printer, on mouldmade Somerset paper. The four prints fold out from the insides of the cover, two from the front, two from the back. The books are handsewn and bound in boards covered with green Japanese cloth and are presented in a slipcase with cloth edges and paper sides. The edition is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale, each copy signed by the playwright and the artist. $850.

Arion Press, Arcadia, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Arcadia, Prospectus
Arion Press, Arcadia, Title Page
Arion Press, Arcadia, Colophon
Arion Press, Arcadia, Sample Page
Arion Press, Arcadia, Illustration Layout

The fourth is Cane by Jean Toomer, an afterword by Leon Litwack and ten woodblock prints by Martin Puryear, 2000.  This is the one book of the six that I looked at that did not immediately connect with me.  Having said that, the quality is as amazing as all Arion books. (Ed. Note: Update July 2013, I ended up loving this book and this edition, so it is now in my collection).

Format (from Arion Press): oblong, 11-1/2 by 13-7/8 inches. The text type is Times New Roman, 14 point, with long descenders, with 12 point for subsidiary material, composed by Monotype. The display type is Lucian Bold, composed by hand. The text paper is Biblio, mouldmade in Germany. The print paper is Kitakata, handmade in Japan. The edition of the book is limited to 400 numbered copies for sale and 26 lettered copies hors de commerce. All are signed by the artist. Of the edition for sale, 350 copies are bound in full tan linen over limp boards with brown linen ties, and 50 copies are bound in full brown goatskin. These copies are enclosed in a wooden slipcase created by Martin Puryear and produced in his studio from four woods: African wenge, Swiss pear, Italian walnut, and New England maple; the colors of the woods symbolic of human skin tones. The specially bound books are accompanied by a full linen portfolio containing an extra suite of seven of the ten woodblock prints bound into Cane (the arcs are not included), preceded by a title page specifying the edition and listing the titles of the prints. The prints are on full-size sheets of Kitakata, 17 by 20-1/2 inches. The images measure 10-3/8 by 12-3/4 inches. Each print is numbered, titled, and signed by the artist. The edition of the extra suite is limited to fifty for sale, 1/50 to 50/50; five artist’s proofs, A/P 1 to A/P 5; and five publisher’s proofs, P/P 1 to P/P 5.  Edition of the book only (350 copies), $750. Out of print.

Arion Press, Cane, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Cane, Title Page
Arion Press, Cane, Sample Illustration
Arion Press, Cane, Sample Page with Text
Arion Press, Cane, Colophon

The fifth is Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, translated and with a new introduction by William Weaver, with 12 drawings by Wayne Thiebaud, 1999.
This one was sort of “cool”, to use some slang, in that it looks like no other book I have seen.  Having said that, I suppose it is too modern for me as I was only so enamored with it.  The anodized aluminum solander box certainly catches your eye, while the transparent plastic overlay’s from which the illustrations appear is certainly unique. Certainly a unique design that would be loved by many.

Format (from Arion Press): 14 by 12 inches, 164 pages. The paper, both colored and white, is Italian Tiziano, mouldmade at Fabriano mill. The types are Veronese (Monotype and handset) and Twentieth Century (handset). The type (on paper) and the photopolymer plates for the drawings (on mylar) were printed by letterpress. The book is bound in an anodized aluminum ring binding with U-posts, allowing the leaves to be turned over in sequence. A back cover supports four U-posts, a lid has four slots through which the U-posts rise, and a locking pin of aluminum rod slips through the hoops securing lid to base. The binding was fabricated by Paul Sheet Metal Works in San Francisco. The titling is screen-printed onto a side of the lid. Numbered and signed by the artist. Edition of 400, Out of print.

Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Aluminum Book Case
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Prospectus
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Title Page
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Sample Illustration Page, text without the Illustrated Overlay
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Sample Illustration Page, Previous Photo with the Plastic Overlay
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Sample Page with Text
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, another Sample Illustration Page, pre-overlay
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Previous Photo with Overlay
Arion Press, Invisible Cities, Another Sample Overlay, This on Final Page

The sixth is The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, with an essay by Melvyn New and with 39 photo-collage illustrations by John Baldessari, 1988.  The book itself is stunning.  I do not care for one of the two extra booklets, the one containing the photo collage illustrations by Baldessari.  Again, just a question of taste, but these are way too modern, and in my opinion, are a mismatch with the setting and context of Tristram Shandy itself.

Format (from Arion Press): three volumes, novel, 10-1/4 by 6-3/4 inches, 624 pages; essay, same size, 42 pages; accordion-fold of 41 panels for illustrations, same size. The type for the novel and the essay is Monotype and handset Caslon Old Style, printed by letterpress on specially made Curtis Ruysdael paper. The type for the quotations from the novel in the illustrations is Monotype and handset Univers Bold. The photo-collages and the quotations were printed by offset lithography in black and seven colors on Curtis Brightwater Cover. The novel is bound in green calf for the spine and corners, and marbled paper over boards, with titling stamped in gold on the spine. The essay is bound in green paper over boards, foil stamped. The accordion-fold for the illustrations has green paper covers, foil stamped. Contained in a slipcase. Edition of 400 copies, $900.00.Out of print.

Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Book and Companions in Slipcase
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Slipcase
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Front Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Title Page
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Sample Page with Text
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Sample Page
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Illustration
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Colophon
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Cover of Companion Essay
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Companion Volume of Photo-Collages
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Title Page of Companion Volume of Photo-Collages
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Sample Photo-Collage
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Sample Photo-Collage
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Sample Photo-Collage
Arion Press, Tristram Shandy, Colophon
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