Covers, Rare Books

A Book By Its Cover: A Treatise On Etching

Let us discard now the old adage about books and their covers. This new series entitled A Book By Its Cover will present the art of the book, from the cover and binding, to the plates and type. Below Maxime Lalanne's A Treatise on Etching boasts a striking embossed leather cover in Japonisme style. Sparrows and parasols float amid maple leaves and branches. Upon closer inspection, we find the cover is stippled slightly to create an illusion of clouds, producing a surprising depth of field. The tops of several opened umbrellas reveal both herons in flight, and five petaled flowers.  The abbreviated title in gold, mimics the stylized cover design. This cover is such an asset to the book, that it is housed separately from the text block, in a protective case.  The full compliment to the book includes cover, text block, and a handsome folio of plates. The latter includes the a brocade cover and end papers depicting famous battles re-enacted by frogs. Really, it is quite something. Considered the foremost text on etching of the nineteenth century, A Treatise on Etching remains in print to this day. This copy outdoes a more modest trade edition, prized in paper conservation for its detailed description of techniques. But to be fair, we'd rather keep this edition tucked away in our rare books collection.

A Treatise On Etching: with Fifteen Examples of Modern Etchings by Maxime Lalanne, 1867

A Treatise On Etching: with Fifteen Examples of Modern Etchings by Maxime Lalanne, 1867