A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens – Hand & Eye Editions (2015), Incline Press (2005), Arion Press (1993), Barbarian Press (1984), Grabhorn Press (1950), Limited Editions Club (1934), The Roycroft Shop (1902)

{Ed. Note: This is likely the last posting for a couple/few weeks. Have a Merry Christmas. And remember, it is not too late to support the private press eco-system.}

Is there any book more appreciated during the Christmas season than A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens? It has been read by millions with a story line known by just about everyone. It has been made into more film and stage versions than you can count.  Published in 1843, A Christmas Carol can be given significant credit for bringing back old Christmas traditions in England, most of which are now what people in Western Civilization think of when they think of Christmas.  In that sense, it has been an enormously influential book.

The list of characters in the story brings images to nearly everyone’s mind. Ebenezer Scrooge, Jacob Marley, Tiny Tim and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come. ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Bah! Humbug!’ all entered our lexicon through this story.  Dickens (1812-1870) combined experiences from his own youth, his concern for the plight of the poor, and his affinity for Washington Irving’s stories of the traditional old English Christmas, to create a novella that was immediately successful and critically acclaimed. A Christmas Carol presents two sides of the coin of humanity; coldness and warmth, selfishness and selflessness, despair and happiness, poverty and wealth. Ultimately, it is story of renewal, of the ability of the human heart to reform.

A Christmas Carol has been a favorite of private press publishers over the years. This article takes a look at seven such editions, from newest to oldest. This includes editions from Hand & Eye Editions (2015), Incline Press (2005), Arion Press (1993), Barbarian Press (1984), Grabhorn Press (1950), Limited Editions Club (1934), and The Roycroft Shop (1902). All are beautifully done!

Hand & Eye Edition (2015)

The newest edition to join the ‘A Christmas Carol‘ must-have list is from Hand & Eye Editions, just released a month of so ago. Proprietor Phil Abel once again engaged the services of Angela Barrett to illustrate the work (she had also illustrated Hand & Eye’s Jekyll and Hyde a couple years back). Ms. Barrett is “among the most prominent and best known British picture book illustrators over the last three decades.” Her work in Hand & Eye’s A Christmas Carol, the special editions of which were hand-colored, nicely captures and complements the narrative. The illustrations are classical in nature and very well executed. The typesetting and printing was done by Hand & Eye Letterpress Ltd in Monotype Walbaum and Old Face Open on Mohawk Superfine paper (for the standard edition) and Somerset Book Paper (for the specials). Look at the ‘Macro of Text’ picture below, for a good look at the very nice job done with the type. The book was bound by Smith Settle Ltd; the standard edition full bound in Colorado Tweed and the specials half-bound in Harmatan Scarlet with Colorado Tweed sides. The front and spine are foil blocked. The relatively small size is very comfortable for reading, and the entirety of the work is quite nice for the very reasonable pricing. These are selling quickly, so you should act fast if you want one! Contact Phil Abel here if you would like to order, or order directly here.

About the Hand & Eye Edition

  • Designed by Webb & Webb Design Ltd
  • Illustrated by Angela Barrett
  • The illustrations were drawn with a pen and scanned, and line blocks were made from the scans
  • Typesetting and printing by Hand & Eye Letterpress Ltd in Monotype Walbaum and Old Face Open
  • Bound by Smith Settle Ltd; The standard edition is full bound in Colorado Tweed and the specials are half bound in Harmatan Scarlet with Colorado Tweed sides; The front and spine are foil blocked
  • 8.6″ x 4 3/4″, 133 pages
  • Limited to 310 copies
    • 60 are hand-colored (only 50 for sale) and are printed on Somerset Book Paper (£285)
    • 250 are printed on Mohawk Superfine paper (£175)
  • £175.00 for the standards and £275.00 for the specials

Pictures of the Hand & Eye Edition

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Spine and Cover
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Spine and Cover
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Cover
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Cover
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Endpapers
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Endpapers
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Frontispiece and Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Frontispiece and Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #5 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #7 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #8 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Notes with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Notes with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Hand & Eye Editions, Colophon

 

Incline Press (2005)

The Incline Press edition of A Christmas Carol features illustrations by Chris Burke. The illustrations are lively and bursting with enthusiasm and color.  They provide both a fresh take of scenes etched in many of our heads, yet still are narratively accurate with elements bound to tradition. The paper is Magnanni with the text typeface being 11 point Bell. Along with the decorations at the heads of the pages, the type and paper gives the book a 19th century flavor (though the illustrations bring you back to the 21st). The binding is beautiful and unique, with nineteenth century wooden type ornaments used to print Marley’s chains for the decorated paper. I am not sure if proprietor Graham Moss has any of these left, so contact him if you are interested.

About the Incline Press Edition

  • Each book has a preparatory sketch from Chris Burke, signed by him
  • The paper is Incline Press making of Magnanni, supplied by John Purcell Paper
  • The text typeface is 11 point Bell, cast by Harry MacIntosh of Speedspools in Edinburgh
  • Nineteenth century wooden type ornament used to print Marley’s chains for the decorated paper on the bindings
  • The line of flowers at the heads of the pages were cast at the now defunct foundry of Stephenson Blake, Sheffield
  • The plates were printed by Northends of Sheffield and tipped in
  • Hand bound in the workshop of Stephen Conway at Bradford
  • Limited to 200 copies
  • Pricing ~ £100 to £125, based on location

Pictures of the Incline Press Edition

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover and Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover and Spine
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Page with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Illustration #1
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Macro of Sample Illustration #1
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Preparatory Sketch
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Preparatory Sketch
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Incline Press, Colophon

 

Arion Press (1993)

The Arion edition was published to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of A Christmas Carol. Arion Press intended the treatment to be both “traditional and contemporary by turns.” That is exactly how I would describe it. As one would expect, Arion choose a contemporary artist, Ida Applebroog, to illustrate the work. Ms. Applebroog’s work here is stylistically interesting, certainly a more modern approach (with a somewhat storybook type feel), but also remains quite narrative based while also providing familiar depictions of Scrooge and the ghosts. It is the most unique or variant of the seven editions being looked at here, and I like it a lot. The paper, French mouldmade Rives heavyweight, is marvelous. Soft as can be, yet substantial. The type, Gloucester Old Style and Cheltenham Bold, was handset and printed in black, red, and green inks. You will see below, the printing job was fantastic. The binding is full green cloth, with inset paper panels on front cover and spine, in a cloth and paper slipcase. Very ‘Christmasy’! There is an introduction by Paul Davis, Professor of English Literature at the University of New Mexico and an authority on Charles Dickens, tracing the history of illustrated editions of A Christmas Carol.

About the Arion Press Edition

  • Introduction by Paul Davis
  • 50 illustrations by Ida Applebroog
  • 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
  • 10 by 13 inches, 116 pages
  • 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
  • Typically running around $600-$1000 on the secondary market

Pictures of the Arion Press Edition

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro Side View
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro Side View
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #1 (Introduction)
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #1 (Introduction)
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #2
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #2
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro of Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Macro of Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #4 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Text #4 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #6 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #9 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Arion Press, Colophon

 

Barbarian Press (1984)

This edition from Crispin and Jan Elsted remains a favorite of mine due to its superb wood-engravings from Edwina Ellis (the first book from Barbarian Press to use wood-engravings), it’s equally superb presswork, and the fact that it is an extremely entertaining and alternate stage adaption of Dickens’ original work, produced just a couple months after the initial publication. The Elsted’s describe it:

We should also add that this dramatic adaptation of Dickens’ best-known story has its own delights. Produced on the stage less than two months after the novel first appeared, this was one of several adaptations presented in London that season, only one of which was authorized by Dickens. This version by Barnett opened on the same night as the authorized version, but is vastly more entertaining. Full of the meat of Victorian melodrama, it is in one sense an outrageous vulgarization of the novel, but it gives a fascinating glimpse of how domestic popular theatre took authors like Dickens to their understanding. Bob Cratchit becomes a wise-cracking clown; Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, loses his wealth in a shipwreck, but keeps a seasonably upper lip so as not to disturb his guests; Cratchit is mugged on his way home by a completely new character, Dark Sam, and financially reprieved by nephew Fred; and Tiny Tim – now, next to Scrooge, the symbol of the story – is relegated to a very minor position, and the famous ‘God bless us every one!’ doesn’t even make an appearance. Scrooge, as Joel Kaplan points out in his Introduction to this edition, ‘looms up as the two-dimensional boogeyman the audiences loved to hiss’. All in all, this is a delicious slice of less-than-pure Victoriana.

I absolutely adore the title page (see below for a picture). Like the others in this article, the paper, here Zerkall Cream Wove mouldmade, is delectable. The hand-set 14 point Scotch Roman nicely readable (helped also by excellent spacing and margin sizes). The binding is half scarlet buckram with printed paper over boards, with a printed label on spine. This rarely comes on the market, but when it does is amazingly well priced anywhere from $100 to $400.

About the Barbarian Press Edition

  • Adapted for the stage from Charles Dickens’ novel by C. Z. Barnett, and first produced in 1844
  • Illustrated with 6 wood engravings by Edwina Ellis; Wood engravings printed from the wood on an 1850 super royal Albion
  • Historical introduction by Joel Kaplan, a scholar of Victorian theatre now head of Theatre at the University of Birmingham, is illustrated with contemporary cuts from Punch and The Illustrated London News
  • Hand set in 14pt. Scotch Roman
  • Printed in red and black on Zerkall Cream Wove mouldmade on a 1907 Chandler & Price
  • Bound in half scarlet buckram with printed paper over boards, printed label on spine, slipcased, by Rasmussen Bindery in North Vancouver, B.C.
  • 10 ½ by 7 ½ inches, 68 pages
  • Limited to 350 copies

Pictures of the Barbarian Press Edition

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Spine and Covers
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Spine and Covers
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #1
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #1
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #2
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #2
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #5 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Sample Text #4
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Barbarian Press, Colophon

 

Grabhorn Press (1950)

Robert and Edwin Grabhorn produced an edition of 250 copies of A Christmas Carol for the San Francisco department store Ransohoffs in 1950. What really makes this edition special is the incredibly beautiful initial decorations done in red, yellow, green and black by the great California artist Mallette Dean (who is very well known to collectors of both Grabhorn Press and Allen Press editions). Just look at those examples below!  The book is moderately large at 14″ by 9 3/4″, allowing an excellent size palette for Dean’s work. The Dutch mould made paper, continuing the streak from the editions above, is excellent. The cloth backed patterned paper covered boards in green, yellow and white is not as much to my liking as the others in this article, but is still nice. Copies are hard to come by, though at around $200 is a steal if you can find it.

About the Grabhorn Press Edition

  • Printed by the Grabhorn Press for Ransohoffs (a women’s apparel shop in San Francisco at the time)
  • Color initials by Mallette Dean with title in red, yellow, green and black and floriated initials throughout
  • Printed on Dutch mould made paper
  • Cloth backed patterned paper covered boards in green, yellow and white
  • 14″ x 9¾”, 79 pages
  • Limited to 250 copies
  • About $200

Pictures of the Grabhorn Press Edition

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Cover
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Macro of Title Page Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Macro of Title Page Decoration
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Limitation Page
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Limitation Page
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Macro of Sample Decoration #1
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Macro of Sample Decoration #1
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #5 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Decoration #5 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Text
A Christmas Carol, Grabhorn Press, Sample Text

 

Limited Editions Club (Merrymount Press, 1934)

The 1934 edition from the Limited Editions Club (LEC) was designed and printed by D.B. Updike at The Merrymount Press, one of America’s great presses of the twentieth century. Updike himself is considered one of the great printers of the twentieth century. While he gained renown as a leading example of the Arts and Crafts movement in America, his greatest work and focus reflected his reaction to Arts and Crafts styling — a reaction which could best be described as masterfully using printing styles of centuries past. This can be seen in his edition of A Christmas Carol, which is arguably the most classical in style of the bunch being reviewed in this article (along with the Roycroft example which follows). Just look at the beauty of the page  on ‘Sample Illustration #1 with Text’ below. The spacing is fantastic, the printing, in 14 point Caslon type on all rag Hurlburt Paper, is flawless to my eye. The edition includes hand-colored illustrations in watercolor by artist Gordon Ross.

About the Limited Editions Club Edition

  • Designed and printed by D.B. Updike at The Merrymount Press, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Hand-colored illustrations in watercolor by Gordon Ross, who signs the edition
  • 14 point Caslon type, bought from H.W. Caslon and Company of London
  • All rag paper from Hurlburt Paper Mills
  • Introduction by Stephen Leacock
  • Half-green buckram, decorative hand-made paper sides (made by Rosamond Loring) with paper label
  • 7″ x 10″, 126 pages
  • Limited to 1500 copies, signed by Gordon Ross
  • Usually $200 and up for near fine of better on the secondary market, though not often available

Pictures of the Limited Editions Club Edition 

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Book in Slipcase
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Front Cover
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Front Cover
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Frontispiece and Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Text #1
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Text #1
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Macro of Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #7 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #8 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, Limited Editions Club, Colophon

 

The Roycroft Shop (1902)

American philosopher, writer, artist and publisher Elbert Hubbard, founder of the Roycroft artisan community in East Aurora, New York, deserves a much, much longer and focused article than a short mention on this list. I will be sure to have such an article in Books in Vines in 2016. Hubbard’s life and story are extremely interesting, including his unfortunate death aboard the RMS Lusitania. The Roycroft community (known as and referred to as “The Roycrofters” and “The Roycroft Shops”) was a living instantiation of the Arts and Crafts philosophy, producing books, bindings, furniture, and other leather and copper goods.

The Roycroft Press was inspired by William Morris‘s Kelmscott Press. I will highlight a few of Roycroft’s works next year, but for now A Christmas Carol will give you a good flavor. The binding is classically beautiful, done in three-quarter burgundy crushed morocco with spine design (two raised bands, spine heavily decorated in gilt) by Louis Kinder. The top edge is gilt, and the end papers and cover paper is hand-marbled. The only illustration is the frontispiece of Charles Dickens. The title page (very reminiscent of Kelmscott) is simply awesome (a technical term, I know). It, along with the tailpiece, was done by Samuel Warner. The presswork appears outstanding also, with the composition by Charles Rosen and presswork by Otto Franz.

You will find with Roycroft Press books many variations at different price points (lots of suede covers abound in Roycroft, most in horrible shape). The edition shown below is limited to 100 copies, and was a ‘special’, done on Japan Vellum.  Such is not easy to find in near fine or better condition, but expect to pay between $1200 and $1700 if you do find such.

About The Roycroft Shop Edition 

  • Three-quarter burgundy crushed morocco with spine design (two raised bands, spine heavily decorated in gilt), by Louis Kinder
  • Marbled endpapers
  • Top edge gilt
  • Title-page and tailpieces by Samuel Warner
  • Frontispiece of Dickens
  • Composition by Charles Rosen and presswork by Otto Franz
  • 8-5/8″ x 5-3/4″
  • One of 100 Copies on Japan Vellum, signed by Elbert Hubbard

Pictures of the Roycroft Shop Edition 

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided, under fair use, to highlight and visualize the review/criticism of the work being reviewed. A side benefit, hopefully, is providing education on the historical and cultural benefits of having a healthy fine press industry and in educating people on the richness that this ‘old school approach’ of book publishing brings to the reading process. Books and Vines has no commercial stake or financial interest in any publisher, retailer or work reviewed on this site and receives no commercial interest or compensation for Books and Vines. 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 or material found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Solander
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Solander
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Book in Solander
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Book in Solander
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Spine and Covers
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Spine and Covers
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Spine
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Side Macro
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Side Macro
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Endpages
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Endpages
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Frontispiece
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Title Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Title Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Signature Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Limitation/Signature Page
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #1 (Contents)
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #1 (Contents)
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #2 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #2 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #2 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #2 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #3
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #4 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #4 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #5 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #5 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #6 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #6 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #6 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #6 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #7 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #7 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #8 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #8 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #9 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Sample Text #9 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #9 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Macro of Sample Text #9 with Decoration
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Colophon
A Christmas Carol, The Roycroft Shop, Colophon

8 thoughts on “A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens – Hand & Eye Editions (2015), Incline Press (2005), Arion Press (1993), Barbarian Press (1984), Grabhorn Press (1950), Limited Editions Club (1934), The Roycroft Shop (1902)

  1. I was able to obtain a copy of the LEC edition in Fine condition — and it’s a beautiful, classic design — for less than half the cost of the Hand & Eye standard edition. Although the H&E looks absolutely lovely, and I covet it abjectly, I’ll have to save my pennies to justify owning multiple editions of “A Christmas Carol”..

  2. Chris

    Another great post.

    I am lucky enough to own 4 of these editions (Hand & Eye Editions,LEC,Barbarian Press and Incline Press). Would love to add a copy of the Grabhorn Press edition,but there doesn’t seem to be any decent copies available.

    I was lucky enough to meet Phil Abel briefly last weekend at the Kensington Christmas Book Fair and picked up a second copy of the Hand & Eye Editions deluxe copy (for a Christmas present).

    Chris,dlphcoracl et all,a very merry Christmas.

  3. This article is a tour de force and an embarrassment of riches. The newest edition of ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Hand & Eye Editions is, alongside the Barbarian Press edition, at the top of my list and it is difficult to choose between the standard edition with B&W illustrations or the deluxe edition with hand-coloured illustrations. Frankly, I wish Phil Abel would steal a page from Lewis & Dorothy Allen (Allen Press) and give up his contract letterpress work for other folk to devote full time to designing and crafting his own superb editions – they are that good.

    1. What a complement, thank you. I don’t feel I can take all the credit, though. Part of the pleasure of making books is that they are a collaboration. Whatever there is to say about the presswork is down to me, and I had the advantage of excellent typesetting by Nick Gill. The design, including the details that make all the difference, is Brian Webb’s, and Angela Barrett’s vision and her execution of it are a marvel.

      1. Dear Chris

        Great article. I am lucky enough to have 4 of these editions (Hand & Eye Editions,LEC,Barbarian and Incline Press). Would love to add the Grabhorn Press edition but there doesn’t seem to be any decent copies available.

        I agree that the Hand & Eye Edition is a delight. I was lucky enough to meet Phil Abel briefly at the Kensington Christmas Book Fair last weekend and picked up a second copy of their deluxe edition (for a Christmas present).

        Chris,dlphcoracl et al,a merry Christmas to you all.

        Gary

  4. Thanks so much for this collection of reviews! My favorites are the Hand & Eye and the LEC editions — but which to choose?? So many lovely books available — really an embarrassment of riches on the supply side — but such sever limitations on the demand side!

Leave a Reply