Recent Publications | March 22, 2011

New Annotated Dictionary of Fore-edge Paintings

I am pleased to announce the publication of a new book on fore-edge paintings. This book is instantly the most important contribution to the history of fore-edge paintings since the books (1949 and 1966) of Carl J. Weber, the author’s grandfather.

The new book is entitled, Annotated Dictionary of Fore-edge Painting Artists & Binders (Mostly English & American). Part II: The Fore-edge Paintings of Miss C. B. Currie; with a Catalogue Raisonné, and is published in a limited edition of 980 trade copies, with 20 deluxe copies specially bound and embellished with a hand-painted fore-edge scene on the fanned edge of the book.

This book is the culmination of more than 25 years of work. Much information comes directly from artists who make fore-edge paintings. Weber has already published a comprehensive study (2006) on John T. Beer, the first person to regularly sign his fore-edges. With this new monograph, Weber offers the same treatment to Miss Currie, but he also adds a great deal of information directed to numerous artists and bookbinders who contributed to this art form from the sixteenth century forward.

The challenges of uncovering the history of fore-edge painting are known. These paintings are mostly painted anonymously, mostly unsigned, and the presentation is often misleading, or people misinterpret information easily (such as imprint dates, bookplates, falsely attributing a printing to the wrong date/or era). The author’s aim is to create a basis for what can be known about certain fore-edge paintings, identifying them, giving their history, alerting the readers about numerous factors that can help to understand what they are looking at.

The book is divided into three sections. The first is a series of brief essays offering the author’s perspectives on studying this field, including gathering information from the books themselves as archeological specimens, the language of fore-edge painting, and evidence in the 1860s of the first fore-edge paintings in America. The second section, and the dominant feature of the book, is an annotated dictionary, heavily illustrated, citing numerous specimens, arranged alphabetically by artist or binder. There are even treatments of binders who are identified as not being sources of fore-edge paintings. This is the first book to ever single out the names and history of each of these contributors. The result is that each entry tells when and where an artist worked, how to identify a painting, noting characteristics unique to their work, where the artist studied art and other details. Specific examples are noted throughout. Locations are supplied and the author notes by a rating system which entries are certain fore-edge contributors, and those who are not at all; finally a mark in numerous entries indicates if the author has seen that work in person. The third section offers a detailed history and catalogue raisonné of the fore-edge painting work of Miss. C. B. Currie. Currie was the famous artist working for Sotheran’s in London during the first half of the twentieth century. Currie’s history is presented in much more detail than available anywhere else, focusing on her fore-edge art and relationships to the English book trade.

The book is handsomely designed by Patrick Reagh, printed and bound in China, priced at $400 for the trade edition and $1800 for the deluxe issue. The book measures 10 x 7 inches (approx.) 433 pages. Illustrated in color and black & white. Cloth, pictorial dust-jacket.

Prospectus data:

WEBER, Jeff. Annotated Dictionary of Fore-edge Painting Artists & Binders (Mostly English & American). Part II: The Fore-edge Paintings of Miss C. B. Currie; with a Catalogue Raisonné. Los Angeles: Weber Rare Books 2010.

10 x 7 inches. [xii], 421 pages. Illustrated throughout, indexes. Cloth, dust-jacket. NEW. $400

Limited Edition of 1,000 copies, printed and designed by Patrick Reagh, Printers. This book will become instantly the single most important work on the history of fore-edge painted books. Signed by the author.

This is the most important contribution to fore-edge painting history in over 40 years. The text contains the first comprehensive annotated dictionary to contain the identification of all known fore-edge painters and binders. The book is sure to become the authoritative resource for fore-edge painting identification. The book is profusely illustrated with color reproductions. Containing two parts, the first will appeal to everyone with a fore-edge painting: a comprehensive annotated and illustrated dictionary of every artist and binder known to make and sign fore-edge paintings. This will include some additional binders and artists whose work can be grouped and identified, as well as including some binders who are suspect and possibly never made fore-edge paintings. An attempt is made to prove the work of every person and to give numerous examples. Included will be the most comprehensive assessment of seventeenth century English fore-edge specimens up to the present.

The other part will be a full history of the mysterious Ms C. B. Currie, one of the most important fore-edge artists from England in the twentieth century and the only artist to have numbered her editions. This project was challenging since no record of her entire fore-edge work exists and her own identity has been unknown until recently.

There will be three issues of the book available: A limited edition of 980 copies $400

A deluxe leather-bound edition of 5 copies, gilt-edges and slip-case. (numbered 16-20) sold out

The ultra-deluxe edition of 15 special copies that will be hand-painted on the fore-edge by selected artists. Each piece will be unique and signed. Hand-bound in full morocco, extra-gilt, all-edge-gilt. Custom slip-case. (numbered 1-15) estimated: $1,800

Biography of the author:

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jeff Weber grew up on Stanford University campus, attended UCLA (BA in Middle Eastern History) and Indiana University (Masters of Library Science). He worked with Jake Zeitlin at Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Booksellers, Los Angeles (1978-1987), and started Jeff Weber Rare Books in 1987, specializing in the history of science & medicine, and the history of the book & printing. Weber is recognized as the foremost authority on the history of fore-edge paintings as a result of collecting, study, lectures and articles. In 2006 he issued a monograph on the fore-edge paintings of English book collector, poet and artist John T. Beer, the first man known to regularly sign his fore-edge paintings. This book became the first complete study of a fore-edge artist, includes a catalogue raisonné, and traces the movement of every book Beer painted, placing many in private & public collections.

To contact the author:

PO Box 3368 Glendale CA 91221
Phone: 323 344 9332 [email protected]