Sims Reed Rare Books×

Songs by Ben Jonson. A Selection from the Plays, Masques, and Poems, with the Settings of Certain Numbers

Eragny Press. Jonson, Ben

The Brook, Hammersmith, London. The Eragny Press. 1906
The dedication copy of the Eragny 'Songs by Ben Jonson' on vellum.

From the edition limited to 185 copies, with this, the dedication copy, one of ten printed on vellum; with a presentation in black ink from the Pissarros to the dedicatee J. M. Andreini: 'From Esther Pissarro & / Lucien Pissarro / to / J[oseph]. M[anuel]. Andreini'.

A beautiful Eragny book, the 'Songs' makes use of printed music - Jonson wrote airs, ballads and madrigals - with the notes in black against red staves using type designed by Lucien Pissarro. As an initial note makes clear, some of the clefs - the originals are supplied - required alteration to render a harmonious, modern form: ' ... it has been found more convenient to change the clefs to the clef of 'G'.' Emery Walker described the book to Esther Pissarro as 'a beautiful specimen' and in reference, in particular, to the music: ' ... I think it is the prettiest specimen of modern music typography I have seen'.

A senior member of the Wall Street banking firm of Lawrence Turnure and Co.,Joseph Manuel Andreini (1850 - 1932) was, in addition, a bibliophile and a member of the Grolier and Rowfant Clubs. Andreini, who developed a warm friendship with the Pissarros (as evinced by the dedication in the present volume) had a standing order for every book published by the Eragny Press. In 1907, a year after the publication of the 'Songs', Lucien Pissarro designed Andreini's illustrated bookplate. The book was owned subsequently by Norman J. Sondheim (1914 - 2011), a Harvard-educated bibliophile whose collection, it included a Kelmscott Chaucer among other notable rarities, was sold by Swann Galleries in 2012.

'The book was dedicated to J. M. Andreini, a New York lawyer and book collector, who had been very helpful tot he Pissarros in their American ventures. Andreini received a vellum copy [this vellum copy] of the work and replied to the Pissarros, 'It is certainly very complimentary to dedicate B. Jonson's to me and I trust you have all the success with it which I wish you. It is a handsome book and I hope American collectors will appreciate it.' (Marcella Genz).

[Genz EP26; Ransom 25; Tomkinson 26].
[41 leaves including blanks; pp. 59, (iii)]. 8vo. (208 x 136 mm). Leaf with presentation (see below), leaf with dedication, title printed in red and black with circular wood-engraved colour vignette by Lucien Pissarro, explanatory leaf, first leaf of text with elaborate wood-engraved border in black, four-line initial in red and larger nine-line decorative initial in red, decorative initials and side-notes in red throughout, musical notation in black on red staves, two leaves with contents and errata and colophon verso, four blank leaves. Decoration and initials by Esther Pissarro after Lucien Pisarro. Full burgundy morocco by Blackwell with their discreet stamp to front free endpaper verso, banded spine with title gilt in six compartments, turn-ins ruled in gilt with gilt decorative floral corner-pieces, matching burgundy morocco-edged scarlet cloth slipcase.

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