London: 1948-1969. Thick folio, 240 pp. with manuscript notes and typed minutes pasted in throughout. Original half red roan, blue moiré boards, lettered “Minute Book” in gilt. In very good condition, tips worn. Essentially the entire history of the founding of the Blake Trust and the Trianon Press, from the earliest days discussing financial and legal arrangements through the production details for every book up to and including “Europe”. All the reports are signed by Geoffrey Keynes in his distinctive brown ink, and the text is annotated and otherwise added to by Arnold Fawcus in his distinctive green ink. An archival item of great importance, documenting the publishing history of one of the greatest ventures of the 20th century. As the TLS noted, nothing like these books had ever been made before nor was ever likely to be made again. Reading the account of the creating of the Blake Trust as well as Fawcus’s other ventures (all of which teetered constantly on the edge of bankruptcy), this minute book proves fascinating as it provides the dry details of the Board meetings with Fawcus, Keynes, Goyder, Preston and later Rosenwald and Mellon. A biographical note records: “The series of extraordinary facsimiles of watercolor works by Cezanne were seen by Geoffrey Keynes, at an exhibit in Boston. Sir Geoffrey inquired of Arnold whether or not he might be able to produce quality reproduction in collotype and pochoir work for one of the most important, most astonishing illuminated works in engraving and literary history, Blake's Jerusalem. The estimate, at the uneconomical low price of 4,000 pounds for 500 copies of the unique Jerusalem, led to what might be called a corporate venture into sublime achievement. An original subvention of approximately L15,000, which was granted by Sir Geoffrey's old friend, Graham Robertson, provided, title by title, the support and publication of each volume of The Trianon Press. Sir Geoffrey formed and directed the affairs of The William Blake Trust, the official body which selected and commissioned each title. Arnold and his Press produced a remarkable sequence of works without rival. The facsimiles of Blake are of such quality that they could scarcely be detected from the original works held by such connoisseurs as Lessing J. Rosenwald and Paul Mellon.” (Inventory #: 107751)
Books and manuscripts in all fields, especially medieval illuminated and text manuscripts; material on California, Hawaii, and Pacific voyages; illustrated books and fine bindings from the 15th through the 20th century; children's books from 1750 to 1950; and fine press printing. William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Thomas Frognall Dibdin are special interests.
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