(Munich: Bremer Presse, 1926-28). 360 x 250 mm. (14 1/4 x 10"). Five volumes. Edited by Carl von Kraus. ONE OF 365 COPIES.
VERY FINE TAN MOROCCO BY WERNER G. KIEßIG (stamp-signed with his "K" mark at foot of lower cover), upper covers lettered in blind, lower cover with small round book stamp of former owner Martin Wandersleb, smooth spines divided into panels by blind rules, blind-stamped titling, marbled endpapers, leather hinges, top edges black, other edges untrimmed. In the original brown dust jackets with paper title labels to spines. Housed in the original (slightly worn) matching marbled paper slipcases. With titles and initials drawn by Anna Simons. Front pastedown with bookplate of Martin Wandersleb. Eyssen 88; Ransom, p. 257. ◆One or two faint spots of foxing, one small marginal smudge, but A CHOICE COPY, with no signs of use inside or out.
This is a superb copy of the signal achievement of the Bremer Presse, in a restrained but impressive binding produced by Berlin master bookbinder Werner G. Kießig. Printed on Zander handmade paper with a typeface specially cut by Louis Hoell and initials designed by Anna Simons, this set was issued to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the completion of the Lutheran Bible. Rodenberg tells us that this work had for years been the highest goal of the press, and Eyssen proclaims, "a better and more textually reliable re-creation of this national monument is hardly conceivable." Colin Franklin noted in "The Private Presses" that the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz described the Bremer Presse as "the Queen of the Private Presses." According to Ransom, the press offered the Bible in three different bindings: in boards for $310, in vellum for $420, and in morocco for $470. Because she was a woman, Anna Simons (1871-1951) was barred from studying at the Prussian Arts and Crafts School, so she travelled to England to learn from Edward Johnston at the Royal College of Art. Johnston's biographer Priscilla Johnston writes, "She was one of the best students Johnston ever had and certainly one of those who exercised the greatest influence afterwards, for she disseminated his teaching throughout Germany where it was perhaps more fruitful, even, than in England." She designed some 1,400 initials and title pages for the Bremer Press.
Binder Werner G. Kießig (1924-2014) apprenticed with German master binder Kurt Grünewald and studied with Bruno Scheer before attaining the rank of Meister in 1948. Although he lived in East Germany for much of his career, his status as a master craftsman afforded him more freedom than usual--to exhibit internationally and to join organizations like Meister der Einbandkunst (MDE) and Designer Bookbinders. He was the preferred bookbinder for volumes produced by Wolfram Benda's Bear Press. From the 1970s on, Kießig signed his bindings with the stamp of a "K" in a stylized book designed by Herbert Prüget.
Our bindings also bear the stamp of former owner Martin Wandersleb (1924-2005), designed by Otto Rohse. The bookplate designed for this bibliophile and theologian by the artist Gerhard Marcks is on the front pastedown. This set was also part of the collection of Hamburg collector Barbara Achilles (d. 2010), who put together an impressive library of private press books. (ST16973)