Limited Editions Club (LEC) editions typically are more collectible and desirable than those from Heritage Press (HP), George Macy’s baby sister to his LEC. This is typically because of the use of better materials and the more limited nature of LEC, in addition to the LEC’s typically coming with the signature of the author, illustrator or printer. This is not to criticize Heritage Press at all. In fact, in general, I would invest in HP volumes (typically to be found from $5-50+ in good used book stores) before just about anything put out by today’s mainstream publishers.
There are some debates around if the general rule of “LEC > than HP” holds true in some specific editions. One of my favorite to compare is Oscar Wilde’s Salome. LEC published it in July 1938 in a two volume set, one in English and one in the original French. The English translation is by Lord Alfred Douglas, with a somewhat controversial set of illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley and an excellent introduction by Holbrook Jackson. The French edition contains illustrations by Andre Derain. Each book comes in at about 20×28 centimeters with 108 pages.
The English version was printed by the Fanfare Press in London, using Bembo types and for headlines using a type called Legends. The paper, from Holland, is made with moulds out of rags at the Pannekoek paper mills. The cover is linen over boards, with a gold stamped spine and a gold stamped design by Beardsley on the front cover.
The French LEC version was illustrated (and signed) by Andre Derain with a water color brush on coal black paper, reproduced by hand (by Jean Saude). The book was printed at a firm in Paris called Dehon et Cie using Peignot type, brand new for this edition created by A.M. Cassandre. The paper is made out of rags at the Arches mills. The binding is a piece of cardboard wrapped in a sheet of black Ingres paper.
The two editions were packaged together in a single slipcase. Fine copies are somewhat hard to find (remember, these were limited to 1500 copies). Comparing the two illustrative styles is quite interesting to do.
The Heritage Press edition was published in October, 1945. It also has the introduction from Holbrook Jackson and the Lord Alfred Douglas translation. Pages are deep yellow and french-folded, bound in a nice black cloth cover (made by Interlaken Mills in Arkwright, RI) with a illustrative indentation and a gold stamped title. What causes this edition to stand out, and what causes it to be one of the most desirable Heritage Press books to own, is that Valenti Angelo designed the book, decorated the pages and hand-illuminated the illustrations (see the gold in the pictures below). It is simply beautiful to behold. More nice pictures of it, besides below, are here, a site which includes lots of excellent Limited Editions Club and The Heritage Press images.
My personal opinion. This is one case where I like the HP version better, at least aesthetically. I simply love the design and illustrations. I find much to like about the Beardsley and Derain illustrations in the other volumes, but they just do not hit the same chord with me style wise, especially the Beardsley (art is in the eye of the beholder!). And at probably less than 10% of the cost of the LEC, hard to pass up. In any case, both are fantastic and this is one case of having each being the right thing to do!
Enough of my long-windedness, here are the photo’s. Let me know which you like best. If you have some photos from other fine press or Easton Press editions of Salome (did Folio ever do one?), please send them on! Also, anyone with the HP Sandglass for Salome, could you send me a copy/images of it?
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LEC, English Version
LEC, French Version
Heritage Press Version