A. & C. Black’s Colour Books

A couple of further questions from Mark Godburn.Inman Bibliography

Most of you will know and will have come across the A. & C. Black Colour Books published in the early years of the last century. The first of them, Mortimer Menpes’ “War Impressions” – the text by his daughter, Dorothy Menpes – was published in May 1901 and is generally regarded as the first British book to make use of the recently developed “three-colour” process to furnish the full-colour plates. Hundreds of further titles followed, all richly illustrated in the same manner.

Richard Bagot : The Italian Lakes. Pictures by Ella Du Cane.We know a great deal about these handsome productions from Colin Inman’s 1990 bibliography and collectors’ guide. We know about the authors, like Dorothy Whistler Menpes. We know about the illustrators, like her father, Whistler’s former studio assistant, Mortimer Menpes.  We know about Richard Bagot and Ella Du Cane who combined to produce “The Italian Lakes” in 1905.  We know about Albert Angus Turbayne and his colleagues at the Carlton Studio, who produced many of the distinctive and stylish cover designs. We know quite a bit about the printers and the print-runs. But what we do not appear to know is who actually manufactured the cloth binding cases.  The answer is most likely to be found in the A. & C. Black Archive at the University of Reading – but Mark lives in Connecticut – so his question is, “If anyone knows who was the bindery for the A&C Black Colour Books in the 1900-1920 period, please email me”.

Edwin Drood dust-Jacket“Also, a follow up to an earlier post about early jacketed books that are unlocated today, someone saw the Charles Dickens “Edwin Drood” (London, 1870) in jacket back in the 1980s in a display case, apparently in California. They thought it was at the Huntington Library, but the Huntington doesn’t have it. If this jogs anyone’s memory about where the book might actually be today, I’d like to hear from you”.


Many thanks, Mark Godburn

North Canaan, CT

email: bookmarkstore@att.net

About Laurence Worms - Ash Rare Books

Laurence Worms has owned and run Ash Rare Books since 1971. He represented the antiquarian book trade on the (British) National Book Committee from 1993 to 2002 and has been six times an elected member of the Council of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association. He was largely responsible for drafting the Association’s Code of Good Practice first introduced in 1997 (and its recent update), served as Honorary Secretary of the Association from 1998 to 2001 and as President from 2011 to 2013. He is a former member of the Council of the Bibliographical Society and continues to serve on the Council of the London Topographical Society. He writes and lectures on various aspects of the history of the book and map trades, and has lectured at the universities of Cambridge, London, Reading and Sheffield, as well as at the Bibliographical Society, the Royal Geographical Society, the Warburg Institute, the National Library of Scotland and at Gresham College and Stationers' Hall. Published work includes the compilation of fourteen ‘lives’ for the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography”, a number of articles for “The Oxford Companion to the Book” and the chapter on early English maps and atlases for the fourth volume of “The Cambridge History of the Book in Britain”. Essays on the British map trade are also appearing in “The History of Cartography” published by the University of Chicago Press. His long-awaited “British Map Engravers”, co-written with Ashley Baynton-Williams, was published to critical acclaim in 2011. He also contributed the numerous biographical notes to Peter Barber’s hugely successful “London : A History in Maps”, co-published by the British Library and the London Topographical Society in 2012.
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