Arion Press, Photo’s of Recent Releases

{ed note:  Communicated with Arion Press on the lack of slipcases on a few of the books mentioned in the reviews below.   They kindly and correctly pointed out to me that the cost of making slipcases (as they do it by hand) is equivalent to the cost of binding, meaning that the price for slipcased books is clearly higher; result being that for certain books, the cost would be more than they feel they could charge for that book.  I am very glad they are conscious of the cost issue and gladly accept their call on when a slipcase makes economic sense or not.}

I received my shipment of Arion Press books and thought I would post photo’s for your perusal. Arion Press books are always top of the line, the pinnacle of fine press book making, even when their artistic choices do not match my preferences (which is my problem, as I am a staunch traditionalist in art!).

The first is the most recent release from Arion Press, The Sundial by Shirley Jackson, with an introduction by Diane Johnson, and with fifteen color illustrations by Miles Hyman, June 2011.  I find the look and layout of this book to be classically beautiful.  Unlike some Arion Press books, the styling is conservative.  I especially like the block insert panel on the front cover with a sundial, which offsets nicely from the orange/brick color of the cloth binding. The illustrations by Miles Hyman (Shirley Jackson’s grandson) are nice and are beautifully presented.  The paper is very nice, though not as soft and beautiful as many Arion editions.  I do wish the book came with a slipcover, though The Sundial has recessed panels for the titling strip on the spine and the image on the front cover to prevent scuffing when the book is shelved. A review of the book exists at The Whole Book Experience here.

Book Description (from Arion Press):  The Arion Press edition format is large octavo, 10-1/4 by 6-1/2 inches, 226 pages plus 56 unnumbered pages for the illustrations, 282 total. The text pages are printed by letterpress from Fridericus type in Monotype composition, with Winchell type handset for display, on Zerkall Book, a German mouldmade paper. The illustrations are printed by four-color offset lithography on McCoy Silk Book. The binding is full cloth with an inset panel on the front cover, with a detail of a sundial in color from the endpaper image, and a spine titling label. The edition is limited to 300 numbered copies for sale and 26 lettered copies for complimentary distribution.

(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.)

Arion Press, The Sundial, Prospectus
Arion Press, The Sundial, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, The Sundial, Front and Back End Pages
Arion Press, The Sundial, Title Page
Arion Press, The Sundial, Colophon
Arion Press, The Sundial, Sample Text
Arion Press, The Sundial, Sample Illustration
Arion Press, The Sundial, Second Sample Text
Arion Press, The Sundial, Sample Illustration Introduction
Arion Press, The Sundial, Second Sample Illustration
Arion Press, The Sundial, Second Sample Illustration Introduction
Arion Press, The Sundial, Third Sample Illustration Introduction

The next is Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, with illustrations by William Hamilton and an introduction by Christopher Buckley, May 2010.  Probably as ‘standard’ of a book I have seen from Arion Press.  I do not mean that negatively, just it is not as ‘deluxe’, so to speak, as many others — though still far better than just about anything else that  ever comes out of non-fine press publishing houses.  The cloth with silk screening really stands out in a good way.  The book feels amazingly solid for it’s size (much heavier than what it looks).  The text is clean and sharp.  The paper, as always with Arion Press, is awesome.  The illustrations remind me of newspaper editorial type cartoons, nicely done though a bit to cartoon-ish for me (though once I read the story, perhaps they will be a perfect match).  I do wish the book came with a slipcover.

Book Description (from Arion Press):  The book is designed and produced by Andrew Hoyem and the staff of Arion Press. It is copiously illustrated with twenty-eight drawings by William Hamilton. The format is octavo, 9 by 6 inches. The text type is Bruce Old Style, composed and cast in Monotype at Mackenzie & Harris, with Greco Bold and Greco Adornado handset for display. The paper is Mohawk Superfine. The printing of the type and polymer plates for illustrations is by letterpress. The binding is full cloth over boards with the Cuban flag and titling silk-screened in three colors on front and back covers (the flag did not change with the revolution), screen-printed by Anthony Skirvin at Ape Do Good Printing in San Francisco.

(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.)

Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, Cover/Binding
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, Prospectus
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, End Sheets
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, Title Page
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, Colophon
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, First Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Our Man in Havana, Second Sample Text with Illustration

The next is South of Heavenby Jim Thompson, with an introduction by Arnold Hano, and with forty-four illustrations by the artist Raymond Pettibon, November 2010. Now we are talking. Though I know little about the genre, the story or the author, the look of this book just grabs you, both in terms of obvious quality and care put into it, as well as a loudness that just demands attention.  The binding is simply cool, the illustrations jump out in a way that seems to fit what I know about such pulp fiction as this book represents (not to mention the red paper seems to be a fantastic idea here), and the German mouldmade Schiller paper feels amazing (you really need to see and feel this paper!).  I will be a broken record, but I do wish the book came with a slipcover (though it does come with a mylar dust-jacket).

Book Description (from Arion Press):  The book has been designed and produced by Andrew Hoyem with the staff of Arion Press and Mackenzie & Harris. The type is Pabst Old Style, designed by Frederic W. Goudy in 1902-03, based on lettering he had done for advertisements for the Pabst Brewing Company in Milwaukee and named for its president, Capt. Frederick Pabst. The Monotype version was released in 1912. Since we lack the italic matrices, Bookman Old Style italic has been substituted. The type was composed and cast at Mackenzie & Harris and printed by letterpress. The text paper is German mouldmade Schiller. The illustrations are printed on a red sheet from the French Paper Company by duo-tone offset lithography in two shades of black. The format of the book is quarto, 11-7/8 by 8-3/4 inches, 188 pages for the text plus 44 unnumbered pages for the illustrations, a total of 232 pages. The binding is Smyth-sewn, in a full black cloth cover with an explosive design, die-cut from red paper, attached to the front and back covers, with a red titling label on the spine, and with red endpapers.

A bit too sunny on taking some of these photo’s, the red’s are really much darker red than it looks here, but anyway here is a look.

(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.)

Arion Press, South of Heaven, Cover/Binding (still with plastic on, cover is red, not orange)
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Side View, look at that paper and the color!
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Title Page (see the paper texture)
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Sample Text
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Sample Illustration
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Second Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, South of Heaven, Colophon

The next is Don Quixote, Book 1 and Book 2,  by Miguel de Cervantes, Translated by Edith Grossman, Illustrated by William T. Wiley, October 2010. What can you say on these two volumes? They represent the pinnacle of the art of modern book-making, sure to take their place along with historical greats. The cover and binding is probably the best I have ever seen.  The goatskin is incredibly soft, the color perfect and the gold monogram a work of art.    I would think the illustrations would be a bit controversial, as Wiley’s style while appropriately fanciful, deviates from being what I would call ‘classic’ in nature, which some may prefer for a novel of this stature.  That said, I believe that the whimsical nature of the illustrations are a great match with the story.  I personally like them (in fact, they have grown on me and I would upgrade my comment to say I love them!), though I do feel a bit of color in a book of this length would be pleasing.

Book Description (from Arion Press):  The Arion Don Quixote is printed by letterpress on an all-cotton fiber sheet made to our specifications for this project by Mead Specialty Papers, supplied by Legion Paper. The type is Centaur, designed by Bruce Rogers, composed and cast by Mackenzie & Harris. The size of the text type is large, 16 point, cast on a 14-point body, leaded two points, so that the effect is solid 16 point, producing a desirable weave to the page. The initial letters were drawn by Mallette Dean in 1963 for the Grabhorn Press, a set of capitals intended for use with Centaur type. The illustrations are printed from polymer plates made from negatives scratched by the artist, using an etching needle. The prints are in sepia, the type in black, and the initials in red-brown inks. The format is 10-3/8 by 7 inches, 576 pages for Book I, 632 pages for Book II. The binding is three-piece goatskin with dark brown for the spine, with gold titling and tan for the sides, and with a DQ monogram designed by Wiley, in gold, on the front cover. The sections are sewn by hand with hand-sewn headbands at top and bottom. The books are presented in slipcases, with tan cloth around the top, spine, and bottom, dark brown paper sides, and spine label. The books are numbered and signed by the artist. Book I is the eighty-sixth publication and Book II the eighty-ninth publication of the Arion Press.

What follows are a bunch of photo’s.  I would also encourage you to see the photo’s and reviews at The Whole Book Experience, where a great job is done covering this book.

(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.)

Arion Press, Don Quixote, Slipcovers
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Both Volumes in Slipcase
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Cover/Binding both Volumes
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Detail of Cover Monogram
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Side View
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Prospectus
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Announcement
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Title Page
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Sample text
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Sample Text and Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Second Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Third Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 1 Fourth Sample Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Colophon
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 2 Title Page
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 2 Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 2 Second Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 2 Third Sample Text with Illustration
Arion Press, Don Quixote, Volume 2 Colophon

6 thoughts on “Arion Press, Photo’s of Recent Releases

  1. Arion is probably the only Private Press in the world now that has the ability to publish books on the scale of Don Quixote to the exceptional standards of the volumes you brilliantly present above. I can’t afford them, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them vicariously – they are magnificent!

  2. The Arion Press two volume set of ‘Don Quixote’ is simply stunning. Regarding the illustrations by Wiley, I think they are perfect. Don Quixote is, first and foremost, a comedy and Wiley’s whimsical and playful illustrations are most appropriate. This will undoubtedly be the next Arion Press book I get, but budgetary constraints will push that into next year.

    So many great books, so little time (and money).

    1. I could not agree more on the “so many great books, so little time (and money)”…a shame huh? Thanks for your comments on Wiley… A lot of people have mentioned it to me, and I think I am coming around to that viewpoint. Certainly I understand and respect that he is one hell of an illustrator. I think what threw me off a bit initially, is that there are lots and lots of pages, and a bit of color thrown in would have been nice! Yea, I know, sort of dumb, and does not take away from his style or accomplishment here!

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