In previous articles concerning my recent visit to Arion Press, I covered the equipment and art to be found in their facilities. Of course, what most of you want to see is their beautiful books, which is, after all, Arion’s raison d’être. Seeing all of the editions that have been created by Arion Press is a wonderful experience. What strikes me as most impressive is the wide range of design styles they have mastered. Every book is unique, different from every other that has come from the press. The only constant is the quality and beauty of the end product.
Because of personal preference when it comes to artistic choices, some books strike a stronger chord with me than others, but I would be proud and happy to have each and every Arion Press edition in my personal library. Having said that, of the books you will see below, I was most drawn to The Constitution of the United States (simply amazing quality, just look below at the beauty of the cover, the hand drawn initial letters and the hand made paper); The Maltese Falcon (stunning mood setting photographs); and With the Night Mail (all in all one ‘cool’ book!).
During my visit to Arion Press, I saw a lot of books and took a lot of pictures, so I am breaking this ‘Books’ installment into two parts. In this post, I will cover the books that I was able to get multiple photographs of. A subsequent installment, the final one, will include many more books not included in this post, mostly those in which I was only able to get one or two pictures of.
Without further ado, please feast your eyes on the pictures below. I recommend locking away your wallet for a few days after viewing these! Most can be found in the secondary market, while Arion Press itself has a handful of these titles in stock.
(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 Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Illustrated with 97 drawings by Michael Graves, 1984.
- 10 by 6-1/2 inches, 182 pages.
- The text is composed in Monotype Goudy Light with Piehler capitals and figures for display.
- The paper is French mouldmade Rives buff.
- Photo-engravings printed in terra-cotta, titling and chapter numbers in blue-green.
- The binding has a blue-green cloth spine and corners, with printed grey paper over boards, in slipcase with cloth edges and paper sides.
- Signed by the artist.
- Edition of 350 copies.
American Buffalo, David Mamet
- With five wood engravings by Michael McCurdy, 1992.
- 10-3/4 by 8 inches, 118 pages.
- The text type is 12-point Monotype De Vinne with larger sizes handset for display.
- A second color of ink, blue-green, is used for display lines, and the wood engravings are printed in a third color, a slightly greyed black ink.
- The paper is Byron Weston all-cotton ledger.
- The binding is full blue-green cloth with titling on silver foil and a buffalo-head nickel embedded in the front cover.
- Numbered and signed by the author and artist. Edition of 400 copies.
- A preface by Warren E. Burger and an introduction by Daniel J. Boorstin, 1987.
- 10-1/2 by 6-1/2 inches, 64 pages.
- Initial letters drawn and illuminated in gold, red, and blue by Thomas Ingmire.
- The type is handset Deepdene.
- The paper was handmade specially for this edition by the Twinrocker Paper Mill in Indiana.
- Bound in full limp vellum with red vellum laces and blue titling, in blue cloth slipcase with blue cloth chemise.
- Edition of 500 copies.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets, William Shakespeare
- Edited and introduced by Helen Vendler, 1997.
- 8 by 7 inches, 196 pages.
- The type is handset Bulmer and Stylescript, with Monotype Bulmer for the introduction and index of first lines.
- The paper is linen-content Hahnemühle from Germany.
- The binding has a red-brown goatskin spine and red-brown floral brocade cloth over boards.
- The volume is contained in a slipcase with the same leather covering the protruding curved edges that protect the rounded back of the book, and with red-brown paper sides and brocade cloth over the periphery.
- Numbered. Edition of 200 copies.
- A copy of The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, a volume of nearly 700 pages, in which Helen Vendler discusses each of the 154 sonnets, accompanies the Arion Sonnets.
With the Night Mail, Rudyard Kipling
- Introduction by Thomas Pinney and 32 two-color illustrations by Vincent Perez, 1998.
- 9-3/4 by 6-1/4 inches, 122 pages.
- Printed by letterpress for the text and photo-offset for the illustrations.
- The types are English Old Style, in Monotype and hand composition, with Cheltenham and Cushing Antique in hand composition for display in the appendices.
- A frontispiece portrait of Kipling, reproduced from a photoengraving, is tipped in.
- The paper is Legion Letterpress.
- The binding is full tan sailcloth over boards.
- The book is presented in a mailing envelope with a string-and-button closure, millennial commemorative stamp, and an airmail label identifying title and author, to provide the protection usually afforded by a slipcase.
- Numbered and signed by the artist. Edition of 250 copies.
The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett
- Illustrated with 46 period photographs of sites in the novel, with a preface by the publisher, including an appreciation by private investigator David Fechheimer, and an appendix with notes on the photographs by Glenn Todd, 1983.
- 10 by 8 inches, 304 numbered pages, 44 pages and a 4-page fold-out, unnumbered, for illustrations.
- Composed in Monotype Bodoni semi-bold and handset Corvinus medium, with spade ornaments, printed by letterpress on Byron Weston Linen Record.
- Photographs printed by offset lithography on dull-coated stock.
- Bound with bonded black leather spine and foil-stamped falcons inset on grey cloth covers, in grey cloth slipcase.
- Edition of 400 copies.
Ulysses, James Joyce
- 40 etchings, of which 20 are in color, by Robert Motherwell, 1988.
- 12-3/4 by 9-3/4 inches, 838 numbered pages, plus blanks, and 40 unnumbered pages for the prints.
- The type is Monotype and handset Perpetua, printed by letterpress on French mouldmade Johannot.
- The intaglio printing was done by R. E. Townsend, Inc., Georgetown, Massachusetts, in black and 19 colors on heavier-weight Johannot.
- Bound with white, alum-tawed pigskin on the spine and fore-edges of the boards, which are covered in blue cloth with white flecks.
- The book is presented in a slipcase covered with the same fabric. Distributed with the edition is The Ulysses Etchings of Robert Motherwell, an interview with the artist by Professor David Hayman and a foreword by Andrew Hoyem, format 9-3/4 by 6-1/2 inches, 28 pages, in blue paper wrappers.
- Edition of 150 copies.
A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
- Introduction by Paul Davis and 50 illustrations by Ida Applebroog, 1993.
- 10 by 13 inches, 116 pages.
- The types are Gloucester Old Style and Cheltenham Bold, handset, printed in black, red, and green inks.
- The drawings were printed from photopolymer plates in brown and yellow inks.
- The paper is French mouldmade Rives heavyweight.
- The binding is full green cloth, with inset paper panels on front cover and spine, in a cloth and paper slipcase.
- Numbered and signed by the artist. Edition of 200 copies.
- An extra suite of eighteen hand-colored prints by Applebroog was issued with the book, which forms a tableau when the mounted prints are stood up on their folding stands.
- The images are in black ink with tints in watercolor of purple-grey, dusty rose, and pale yellow.
- The prints vary in size within 10 by 13 inches.
- Contained in a cloth box.
- Limitation panel numbered and signed by the artist. Edition of 25 copies
Paradise Lost, John Milton
- Edited and with a note on the text by John T. Shawcross, introduction by Helen Vendler, 2002. The book edition is sold only with a portfolio of thirteen watercolor drawings by William Blake depicting incidents in the poem.
- Monotype Baskerville is the type for this book, in 14-point size.
- The Arion page format is 10 by 6-7/8 inches. The volume consists of 432 pages.
- A 30-line standard page, with the opening pages of books at 25 lines, enabling Arion to place the line numbers at regular intervals outside the text block, flush left on verso pages, flush right on recto pages, and giving definition to the outer margins.
- Employed a black-letter type in running heads, Goudy Text. It is used for other display purposes and as the figures for page numbers in the upper corners above the line numbers, which are set in 11/12 point Baskerville, the size of the small capitals for the book numbers in roman numerals on the running heads at the gutters, the contents, introduction, Arguments, the note on the Verse, the note on the text, and the colophon.
- The binding is full black linen over boards, round back, headbands, in slipcase covered with the same cloth, with inset purple leather labels stamped in genuine gold for the titling on both book and slipcase.
- Translated from the Hebrew by Robert Alter, with facing Hebrew and English texts, and with a frontispiece two-color etching on chine-collé by Michael Mazur, 1996.
- The Arion Genesis provides the Hebrew text from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.
- 16-1/4 by 11-1/2 inches, 104 pages.
- The type for the Hebrew is Hadassah, set in photocomposition by El Ot Printing Enterprises, Tel Aviv.
- The type for the English is Lydian, set in photocomposition by M & H Type, San Francisco.
- Both texts printed by letterpress from photopolymer plates, in two colors, black and purple.
- The paper is handmade Prague, from the Velké Losiny mill in the Czech Republic.
- The intaglio printing for the frontispiece was done by the R. E. Townsend Studio, Georgetown, Massachusetts.
- The binding is non-adhesive, the sections hand sewn with linen thread into a heavy paper cover, purple Colombe, handmade at the Larroque et Pombié mill in France.
- The volume is presented in a chemise and slipcase covered in purple cloth.
- Numbered and signed by the artist and translator. Edition of 200 copies.
Godot, William T. Wiley
- An imaginary staging by William T. Wiley of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, with an introduction by David Littlejohn, program note and synopsis by Andrew Hoyem, and an afterword by William T. Wiley.
- The book was designed by the publisher Andrew Hoyem, who also provided the Program Note that appears before the curtain rises on this staging-on-the-page and the synopsis of the play that runs in five-line segments beneath the Wiley prints.
- The format is folio, 15 by 10 inches. The volume is 68 pages.
- The type is Century Expanded, in Monotype composition for 12 point, in hand composition for 18 point and larger sizes.
- The prints are made from photopolymer plates, three for each: the black line and the blue and yellow tints.
- The paper is mouldmade Hahnemühle linen.
- The binding and slipcase have blue cloth spines and yellow paper sides and labels, imprinted with titling and images by Wiley. The wordplay on the slipcase includes the palindrome “To Dog Godot” and is surrounded by a field of Irish potatoes.
- Limited to 300 numbered copies.