Auctions | October 7, 2013

Press Book Collection, Art Deco Fashion & Interior Design Books at Swann Galleries October 24


New York—Swann Galleries’ auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books on Thursday, October 24 features fine examples from a stellar press book collection, art books including works on Chinese ceramics, Art Deco pochoir fashion and design books, fine livres d’artiste and more.

Private press highlights include a unique presentation copy of one of the most strikingly beautiful illustrated books of the 20th century: the Cranach Press’s The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. This copy, from an edition of 300 on Maillol-Kessler handmade paper, was printed for Wilma Marquise de Brion, sister of Count Harry Kessler. It comes in a custom gilt-lettered burgundy morocco and cloth folding box, lined in suede, and contains the 35-page Notes on the Text of Shakespeare's Hamlet, 1604, Weimar, 1930 (estimate: $10,000 to $15,000).

Another press book with the same estimate is Eric Gill’s modern homage to the tradition of the illuminated manuscript, the Golden Cockerel Press’s The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the authorized version of King James I, one of the most important fine press books produced in the 20th century, Waltham St. Lawrence, 1931. Also by Golden Cockerel is Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, Waltham St. Lawrence, 1927 ($4,000 to $6,000).

From Kelmscott Press are William Caxton’s The History of Reynard the Foxe, one of 300 unnumbered copies, Hammersmith, 1892; William Morris’s translation of The Tale of Beowulf, which he considered “the first and the best poem of the English race,” based on a prose rendering by Anglo-Saxon scholar Alfred J. Wyatt, with whom Morris consulted over a two-year period, 1895 ($4,000 to $6,000 each); and The History of Godefrey of Boloyne and the Conquest of Iherusalem, the first book commercially published and sold at the press, 1893 ($3,000 to $5,000).

Other notable press books include Ashendene Press’s largest book, Don Quixote, in two volumes, one of 225 sets, Chelsea, 1927-28 ($4,000 to $6,000); one of only 86 sets on vellum of Merrymount Press’s The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha, 14 volumes with 72 engravings after paintings by Turner, Michelangelo, Burne-Jones, Raphael, Reynolds, Rossetti, Rubens and many others ($2,500 to $3,500); one of only 10 deluxe artist proof copies of Cheloniidae Press’s D.H. Lawrence, Tortoises: Six Poems bound in full vellum, with an original pencil drawing, Easthampton, 1983 ($2,000 to $3,000); and Janus Press’s The Circus of Doctor Lao by Charles G. Finney, relief etchings with pochoir by Claire Van Vliet, Newark, Vermont, 1984 ($2,000 to $3,000).

Among a stellar art book selection is Les pastorales & ou Daphnis et Chloé with 156 lithographs by Pierre Bonnard, one of 200 copies on specially watermarked van Gelder Holland paper, in a russet morocco by Georges Cretté, Paris, 1902 ($20,000 to $30,000); the Georges Rouault illustrated Passion by André Suarès, the last work published by Rouault in his lifetime, Paris, 1939 ($10,000 to $15,000); and Andy Warhol’s Index Book, first wrappers edition, signed with 14 ink initials by Warhol, New York, 1967 ($5,000 to $7,500).


A run of important books on Chinese ceramics features Walter T. Shirley’s copy of R.L. Hobson, A Catalogue of Chinese Pottery and Porcelain in the Collection of Sir Percival David Bt., F.S.A., one of only 30 signed copies on Japan paper, with 180 plates, London, 1934 ($8,000 to $12,000); Edgar Gorer and J.F. Blacker, Chinese Porcelain and Hard Stones, two volumes with 254 color plates of rare Chinese gems and glyptic art divided into 12 categories, London, 1911 ($6,000 to $9,000); and volumes 1 through 7 of The Bauer Collection, containing hundreds of color plates, Geneva, 1968-82 ($2,500 to $3,500).

Equally colorful are richly illustrated Parisian fashion plates in 79 issues of Journal des Dames et des Modes, 1912-1914, with pochoir plates by Barbier, Brunelleschi, Taquoy, Werdener and other ($8,000 to $10,000) and 70 issues of Gazette du Bon Ton. Art - Modes & Frivolités, with plates by Lepape, Barbier, Brunelleschi, Marty, Bakst, Drian and others, most enhanced by pochoir, 1912-25 ($30,000 to $40,000).

Rounding out the sale are works on typography; art journals; examples from the Limited Editions Club, such as an inscribed copy of Mapplethorpe’s A Season in Hell; classic illustrated works by Arthur Rackham, including A Christmas Carol; and architecture books.

The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 24. The books will be on public exhibition Saturday, October 19 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday, October 21 through Wednesday, October 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, October 24, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding by mail or fax, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to make advance arrangements to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Christine von der Linn at (212) 254-4710, extension 20, or via e-mail at

Live online bidding is available via Artfact. Click on the Artfact link on the homepage.

First image: Cranach Press’s The Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, Weimar, 1930 (estimate: $10,000 to $15,000).

Second image: Edgar Gorer and J.F. Blacker, Chinese Porcelain and Hard Stones, two volumes with 254 color plates, London, 1911 ($6,000 to $9,000).