Saturday, November 13, 2010

Nieuwenhuis - Hofker - Gedachten en verbeeldingen (1906)

The binding Theo Nieuwenhuis designed for Hofker's book is rather conventional, but the most interesting thing about this book is actually the multitude of versions that exists in its colourscheme. Made in a luxurious edition of 50 copies. Both versions directly above and under this text are part of the bookbinding collection at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek of The Hague.

Antiquariaat Schuhmacher presented a red vellum version (with decoration and lettering in black) on the Amsterdam Book Fair in 2006 with the following description (the price was € 9250):

The text ornaments differ from the copies on ordinary paper. In most cases copies batiked on uncoloured vellum are seen (a copy will be shown and is available on the fair). Decorations and lettering might be in different colours: we know of copies with brown, and also with blue. No copy is exactly the same owing to the batik technique. Nothing is known yet about the executor of the design, it might have been Nieuwenhuis himself. Pencil lines setting out the decoration scheme are slightly visible under the red surface; in the uncoloured vellum copies these lines are (of course) removed.

Another copy (shown above) was auctioned at Dutch auction house Burgersdijk & Niermans (and sold for 2200 € excluding buyer's premium). Their copy is monogrammed MM on the back side, which they suppose to be made for Dutch/American detective writer Maarten Maartens. Probably most copies are monogrammed on their backsides (judging by recent copies showing up in the trade - one at a late 2011 catalogue of Dutch bookseller Fokas Holthuis, and another one at the fall auction of The Hague auction house Van Stockum) - makes you wonder whether the copies were made to order from a (yet un-)known list of subscribers.

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