One of the Major Achievements of Private Press Printing, Specially Bound and with Two Laid-in Illustrated Vellum Leaves


(Weimar: Cranach Press, 1928 (copyright 1929)). 365 x 242 mm. (14 1/4 x 9 1/2"). 202 pp., [1] leaf.Translated by Gerhart Hauptmann. No. 8 OF 230 COPIES ON HANDMADE PAPER, of a total edition of 255.

FINE ORIGINAL BURNT ORANGE MOROCCO by O. Dorfner of Weimar (signed on rear turn-in), covers with single gilt-ruled border, raised bands, spine compartments ruled in gilt, gilt spine titling, turn-ins ruled in gilt, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. In a fine matching morocco-lipped slipcase lined with fleece. Illustrated throughout with woodcuts in the text by Edward Gordon Craig; this copy WITH TWO FULL-SIZE VELLUM LEAVES CONTAINING PRINTED WOODCUTS AND SIGNED BY CRAIG laid in. Printed in red and black. With the Hamlet stories from Saxo Grammaticus and Belleforest in Latin and French in margins surrounding the text. With Prospectus laid in at front. Schröder, p. 9; Franklin, p. 164; Ransom, p. 253; "A Century for the Century" 21 (English version). ◆Spine gently and evenly sunned to a less reddish brown, traces of white residue from leather preservative to front board, but AN ESPECIALLY FINE COPY, the binding unworn, and IMMACULATE INTERNALLY.

A deservedly famous combination of visual daring, printing artistry, and textual scholarship, this is one of the major achievements of private press printing. Undertaken in what Franklin calls "a perfectionist spirit," the book brings together the most glittering names in English and German private printing at the time. In addition to the presence of the woodcuts by Craig, the typographical arrangement of the volume was done by Count Harry Kessler, the title was cut by Eric Gill, the type (in 18-, 12-, and 10-point black letter) was designed by Edward Johnston after that used by Fust and Schoeffer in their Mainz Psalter of 1457, and was cut by Edward Prince (completed after his death by G. T. Friend), and the paper was made by a process devised jointly by Kessler and Aristide and Gaspard Maillol. Franklin says that "anybody who examines the Cranach Press 'Hamlet' must agree it is worthy of its reputation. The paper, superficially like Bachelor's Kelmscott, seems softer and more friendly, appropriate for the expressionist style of Craig's woodcuts. . . . These designs, and Gill's in the Golden Cockerel Chaucer, form the bravest artistic adventure among all private press books." It is increasingly difficult to find well preserved copies of this title, especially in Otto Dorfner bindings. Master binder Dorfner (1885-1955) taught at the School of Applied Arts in Weimar and at the Bauhaus school before founding his own to teach the craft. He was awarded a number of international awards for his bindings, and is particularly noted for his work with the Cranach Press. Dorfner was held in high enough esteem to merit inclusion on the Nazi's "Gottbegnadeten List" ("God-gifted list" or "Important Artist Exempt List") of artists essential to Nazi culture. This 36-page list, assembled in September 1944 by Joseph Goebbels and Adolf Hitler, exempted the named artists from mobilization in the final stages of World War II.

Price: $27,500.00