Friday, April 23, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I'm not going to attempt to biograph the man nor comment in sage detail upon his works because James Bridle did the world a great service in 2008 by putting up what ought to be a model for author fan sites at jocelynbrooke.com: simple, judiciously edited and absorbing, there is plenty of biographical and bibliographical information there as well as links to some excellent articles on Brooke's writing.
I have found though, in my life of book collecting that it can sometimes be useful to actually see the covers of the books I'm looking for, and to have a sense of each book and so, with no pretensions to completeness nor to great insight, this post is a short, illustrated meander through some of Brooke's first editions. The illustrations are all from copies in my stock.
The Military Orchid Trilogy
A biographical trilogy which was re-issued in one volume in 1981 under the title The Military Orchid in both hardback (Secker & Warburg) and paperback (Penguin). A cracking introduction to the trilogy as a whole can be found on the Jocelyn Brooke website.
Brooke was a respected amateur botanist with a deep expertise in British orchids. He wrote a number of academic papers on botany but his two most accessible books are:
The Wild Orchids of Britain. The Bodley Head, London, 1950. Red buckram. In an edition of 1,140 numbered copies of which forty were specially bound. The book, large though it is, does have a dustjacket but my copy does not. There are forty coloured plates at the read of the book each illustrating a different species, they were originally done by Gavin Bone who was at school with Brooke and, as he says in the forward, the first germ of this book was alive in the 1920s during his school career. The paintings have been given some attention and added to by Gavin Bone's brother and father, Stephen and Muirhead. I haven't yet worked out which was which.
The Flower in Season. The Bodley Head, London, 1952. Blue cloth. Illustrated by Charles W. Stewart. This book is a calendar of British flora: one month per chapter.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Much of the last few days has been spent putting the finishing touches to my latest publication and getting the information out to customers. I'm rather proud of this one, it's taken me quite a while to settle on a format for publishing these photos which didn't either try to claim too much for them nor do them a disservice. I think the final result is very tasteful and restrained. Here's the blurb:
We are delighted to be able to announce the publication of an album of photographs by Frederick Rolfe Baron Corvo, never before published and discovered among the collection of the late Donald Weeks.
At the beginning of the 1890s Frederick Rolfe returned from Italy and found a temporary home in Christchurch, Dorset. Here, on the south coast of England, among a small coterie of artists, writers and photographers, Rolfe indulged his own passions for painting and photography. He was friendly with the Joseph Gleeson-White, a well respected art critic, editor and designer who went on to be highly influential among the artists of the 1890s period. The story of Rolfe’s relationship with the whole Gleeson-White family is told in all three of his biographies. It is chiefly this family that features among the photos in this album and in particular young Eric White both nude and ‘draped’ in classical attire. The collection includes also a number of rather less formal portraits of the family.
Twenty-three photographs are reproduced at their original size on twelve 7” x 5” sheets of high-quality photographic paper. Two further images, both male nudes, of slightly less certain attribution, take the total number of sheets to 14. These are enclosed in a glassine pocket and inserted into a custom-made envelope along with a sheet of explanation and key to the images. 70 sets have been printed and individually numbered.