London, The Poetry Bookshop & Paris, Tolmer, (1924).
Square 8vo, publisher’s colour pictorial paper boards. (48) pp. Complete.
30 illustrations in green and black, 6 full-page plates in vivid pochoir colour including one double-page by Jack Roberts.
First Edition, English text version.
One of the loveliest children’s books of the Jazz Age produced in small number by the great graphic design studio Tolmer in Paris. Jack Roberts worked for Tolmer between 1924 and 1932.
Born in Paris of English parents, the artist Jack Roberts (1894-?) studied in London and at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. His first job was with the British printing establishment Howetts. There he did discover that there is an intimate relation between commercial art and type and printing presses, between creating and reproduction.
“A bit more than nine-tenths of his life has been spent in Paris, and a good deal of it high up in Montmartre. […] While studying at the Beaux-Arts, he worked in a commercial art studio, without pay. It was the studio Plumereau, then a flourishing institution much given to producing original designs for the tops of deluxe boxes which were in great vogue with confectioners. At the beginning of the war he went to England. He was rated “C.I.” when he came up for inspection. As art was not flourishing just then he got a clerical job with a shipping company. […] After the war, more art… His work was all over Paris. He was doing modern designs for all manner of uses before the modern school had any existence. He designed catalogue covers, scores of them, and made them modern, and sold them. He designed rugs and carpets, dozens of them for Galeries Lafayette. He designed pottery. Created modern designs for silk. Made drawings and even wrote the copy for advertisements. He writes both in English and French, and illustrated in his whimsical, modern style. They are books for children, and the sort of books children should be brought up on to give them some feeling for art, and humour. Jack Roberts’ window displays for the Galeries Lafayette will go down in history. They have brought all Paris and its nineteen suburbs crowding about the store… It is no exaggeration to say that during the Christmas holiday season a hundred thousand mothers and children make special pilgrimages to this store to see Jack Roberts’ windows. The quality of his humour as expressed in so much of his art has an originality all its own. He can introduce humour into an advertisement for a serious product and lend value to the practical appeal of the advertisement desires to make. And then, just to prove that nothing stops him, he paints great murals for the children’s playrooms for ocean liners. But why go on? Jack Roberts is a whole commercial orchestra. He can play each instrument. And play it well” (Amos Stote).
Founded in 1912 in London by Harold Munro, the Poetry Bookshop was one of the most important of these smaller houses, publishing books by Robert Graves, Richard Aldington, Ford Madox Hueffer, F. S. Flint, Eleanor Farjeon and others as well as popular and important series of anthologies (including Ezra Pound’s seminal 1914 anthology “Des Imagistes”). The Bookshop also published series of hand-coloured rhyme sheets for children, two periodicals, and several series of Christmas cards, most of them with colour illustrations by well-known illustrators. The firm also maintained an open shop that carried poetical works of other British publishers.
A very good copy.
Ref. Catalogue of the Cotsen Children’s Library / Howard Woolmer, The Poetry Bookshop, 1912-1935 : A Bibliography, p. 8 / About the artist: Amos Stote, Jack Roberts of Paris in Commercial Art and Industry, vol. 15, number 90, December 1933, pp. 218-225
Price: 450,00 euros
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