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RODIN [Text by Sommerville Story]
London: Phaidon Press LTD, 1956. First edition. With the engraved bookplate of J.R. Abbey, whose book collection was one of the largest and one of the most remarkable of his generation. He is perhaps best known for his collection of fine bindings and travel books. Two Arts Council exhibitions of bindings from his collection show that he was attracted by the strong geometric pattern designs and vibrant colour use of contemporary English and French binders. With 92 black and white plates of sculptures by Rodin plus two portraits of the artist and a drawing by him. 4to, in a very fine signed modernist binding by master binder Arthur Johnson, dated 1958. The binding is of full black morocco, each board with two large and deeply recessed conecle shaped areas boldly dashed in a mirrored design of gilt lines and curves, the spine with simple yet bold gilt lettering, gilt triple-ruled turn-ins and blue endpapers. t.e.g., housed in a navy blue slipcase with a felt lined, cloth covered chamise. 13, plates, [2] pp. Very fine, the binding pristine and as new. A SUPERB COPY, IN A VERY IMPRESSIVE AND EARLY SIGNED BINDING BY ARTHUR JOHNSON, AND FROM A HIGHLY NOTED COLLECTION OF FINE BINDINGS OWNED BY J.R. ABBEY. Arthur Johnson was a leading designer bookbinder and teacher. Johnson's own designs were bold, with a keen sense of colour and contrast. While he studied at colleges of art in Hornsey, Hammersmith and Camberwell, Johnson had begun to teach bookbinding at Hammersmith. Most instructors in bookbinding, he saw, were journeymen from the best trade workshops. While he recognised and admired their achievements in forwarding and finishing, he thought their design work deplorable - "their covers were reminiscent of carpets and chocolate boxes". Feeling the need to exchange ideas with like-minded people, in 1950, the year Johnson gained his Art Teacher's Diploma, he became a founder member of the Hampstead Guild of Scribes and Bookbinders. Bernard Middleton was another member and is still active in the field, as were Sally Lou Smith, Elizabeth Greenhill, Edgar Mansfield, Trevor Jones, Ivor Robinson and Philip Smith. The name of the group was changed first, to The Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders, and then to Designer Bookbinders. Johnson wrote a number of books on the subject. These include The Thames and Hudson Manual of Bookbinding (1978), The Practical Guide to Craft Bookbinding (1985), The Practical Guide to Book Repair and Conservation (1988), Lettering on Books (1993) and The Repair of Cloth Bindings (2002).
      [Bookseller: Buddenbrooks, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2013-07-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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