Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bernard Bowerman illustrates Jane's Country Year

There is something almost as satisfying about a 'through the year' book as there is in an alphabet book, a sense of rounded completion about the whole. The internet tells me that Jane's Country Year was Malcolm Saville's favourite of his own books. You will not be surprised to hear it is about Jane, living a year, in the country! Each chapter is a month and each has a number of illustrations including a full-page work. It's the full page illustrations, one per month and in order from January to December, that I have scanned and posted here. I know little of Bernard Bowerman but I find there is something rather satisfying about the use of black and flat colours in these images. These were scanned from the 1946 first edition published by Newnes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Geoffrey Whittam illustrates The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

It's always fun to see how different illustrators approach classic texts that have already been illustrated many times before. This edition of Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is illustrated by Geoffrey Whittam (b.1916 - d.c.1998). He was a professional illustrator and artist pretty much from the moment he got back from the Second World War. He was known for work on nautical subjects but also for a large number of 'pony books', children's books designed for girls which invariably included ponies and the adventures one could have on them. Partly overlapping with that he was also a major (and favourite) illustrator of Monica Edwards' books. This edition of Tom Sawyer was published in the Heirloom Library series, probably in the 1950s

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gleeson White and Kains-Jackson at Auction

If you have a lot of money and collect obscure (and otherwise) turn of the last century literature, you should probably look away now: unless you are the lucky new owner of this little beauty. This was auctioned at Bonhams a few weeks ago, a commonplace book I suppose you might call it, put together by the inestimable Joseph Gleeson White, Gleeful to his friends, critic and first editor of The Studio. GW was a central figure in the arts and literature of his period, over the turn of the last century, and was extremely highly thought of by all his contemporaries. He was ceaselessly kind and supportive to young, new talent and despite his early death he had a much greater influence on the art and writing of the time than is generally acknowledged.

The book above contains poems, letters, cuttings, and so on sent to him by all manner of people. My interest is particularly piqued by the presence of poems and letters from Charles Kains-Jackson whose letters from Frederick Rolfe I edited and published a while ago. In the illustration you can see a number of items from Kains-Jackson signed P.C. which were his middle initials.

Have a read of the extensive description on the Bonhams site for the role call of names represented in the book but I suspect the most interesting part of the description for many readers of this blog will be mention of a letter from Kains-Jackson written at the time of the Cleveland Street Scandal where he remarks, "The Euston case has concentrated all the public attention on one of the raid[ed] houses and thus makes things easier for the rest" which is a fascinating insight not only into the knowledge of that little group but also because of the casual way in which he mentions, "the rest" which presumably are a host of male brothels now lost to history except in that casual reference.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Ralph Chubb Ephemera

Had the opportunity to look at a collection of Ralph Chubb books the other day. Among all the amazing printing, calligraphy, mysticism and art work, what was it that made me stop and look? An order form!

There is still something so attractive about the more ephemeral things in life and this sheet, an order form for Chubb's The Sun Spirit was handwritten then duplicated by him and hand coloured too at the top there. You have to wonder how many of these there are left in the world. There may be more Ralph Chubb on the blog in the near future, keep your eyes peeled if you are a fan.

Short Lists

It has actually been a few weeks now since the release of my latest Short List. It seems amazing that it could be number 25! For those of you who don't know, these lists are irregular short catalogues of items for sale. They are designed with the interests of the people on my mailing list in mind, they might contain anywhere from 30-50 items and those items will all be new stock that I am not yet selling anywhere else. So, in other words, it's a chance to have first dibs at new and interesting things coming in to Callum James Books. The frequency varies. Occasionally, if busy, there might be one a month, more usually they are issued every other month or every third. If you want to receive these as they are issued, all you need to do is be on my mailing list and that simply means sending an email to the link at the top right of this page and saying 'please can I be on the mailing list' !! Simple! It helps if you also give me an idea of the kind of things you look for, this is not so that I can 'hard sell' directly at you... it simply means I know what to look out for when rummaging and keeps the short lists directed properly at the people who receive it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Albert Wainwright and Theatre

Fans of Albert Wainwright, the early 20th century painter from Yorkshire will know that this blog often features his painting. It is slightly less well known however, what a passion he had for the theatre. You might expect an artist to branch into theatre and costume design, and indeed he did, some of which are illustrated at the bottom of this post, but Wainwright went further. I was so lucky yesterday to be able to spend some time looking through a significant private collection of Wainwright material and among the paintings and sketchbooks were the two books illustrated here. The first (above and two below) is the handwritten manuscript of a short essay "On the Designer in the Theatre" and the second is the manuscript of a number of plays Wainwright wrote, in a cycle, following the liturgical year from Advent on through. The printed ephemera inside makes it clear that this was not simply a vanity exercise, these plays were produced and performed, if only locally.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Vintage Swimwear - It's been a while...

It's been a while since I have bought anything new by way of vintage photos of guys in swimwear to add to my collection. However, this one caught my eye and as it has arrived in the middle of some very hot and summery weather here on the south coast of England I thought I might post it as a celebration of that....

Friday, July 07, 2017

Harold Copping illustratates Quills by Walter C Rhoades

As we have recently had a guest post from the King of All Things School-Story on the blog I thought this seemed an appropriate follow on. I don't normally buy school story books myself but flicking through this one in a bookshop the other day I couldn't help but notice how superior the illustrations were. Only pencil drawings and yet executed with real skill in both draughtsmanship and characterisation that seemed a cut above the usual. When I got it home I was pleased to discover that Harold Copping is indeed well known and well regarded although mainly for his Biblical illustrations.

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