132. [UK - Eragny Press]
Publisher's binding: vellum, front cover gilt-stamped with a vignette of two irises, flat spine, top edge gilt (front flyleaf loose). In a folder with gilt-lettered blue label. Slipcase.
First book of the Eragny Press. Edition strictly limited to 150 copies on Japanese hand-made paper, of which 120 were for sale (n. 88). Illustrated by Lucien Pissarro with 12 wood engravings in text (1 full-page), of which 5 in colour framed in borders (one gilt and the four others in varying shades of green), and with 2 headpieces and 1 large tailpiece in red. The printer's mark on the last leaf was never used again. "The text of this little book was photographed from Lucien's handwriting, and so gives the kind of unity with his illustrations which all of them were seeking - but it is a slightly muddly page to read. The engraved illustrations and borders, pretty and childish as they should be, are far more complex and carefully organized than at first sight; their shadows and forms always delicate and deserving a careful long look. In that way it is a beautiful book for children, though nobody is or ever was likely to let them get hold of it [...]" (Franklin, p. 94). It was published at The Vale by Charles Ricketts, one of the two founders of the Vale Press, and sold by John Lane at the Bodley Head; Lane already worked as a distributor for Ricketts' books. Lucien Pissarro, eldest son of the impressionist painter Camille Pissarro studied Arts in Paris and London. In 1890, Lucien returned to London because he couldn't get his woodcuts published. This is where he met Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, founders of the Vale Press. They invited him to contribute to the illustrations of their magazine "The Dial". In 1894, Lucien and his wife Esther created the Eragny Press (Eragny comes from Pissarro's family village in France) and established it in Epping. This is were they published their first book "The Queen of the fishes". In 1897 the press moved to Bedford Park, before finally settling in Hammersmith in 1900. In beginning, from the second work the couple Pissarro published, they used the Vale type (i.e. from the Vale Press) until Pissarro created in 1903 his own font, the "Brook" types ("so called from their house where Lucien and Esther lived at Hammersmith", Tomkinson p. 60). The press ran until 1914 and ceased to do business because of the war. 31 books were published by the Eragny Press. Charming impression.
Ref. Ransom, Eragny Press, 1. - The gentle art of Lucien Pissarro, 11. - Moore, About Eragny books, pp. 15-16. - Franklin, pp. 92-102. - Tomkinson, Eragny Press, 1.
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