Few, But Roses: Classical Texts and Fine Printing in the 20th Century

Taken from a press release to Exlibris and additional notes supplied by the associate curator, Alesandra Schmidt Woodhouse:

On view at the Watkinson Library, Trinity College, Hartford, CT, is an exhibition titled:

Few, But Roses: Classical Texts and Fine Printing in the 20th Century

This exhibition, taking its title from the introduction to Meleager’s anthology, GARLAND–in which the Hellenistic poet writes that Sappho’s poems, though few, are all roses–is an anthology of fine printing of the classics at home and abroad in our century, from 1901 to 1973. From the publications of the Ashendene Press of Chelsea, England, to those produced by the Gehenna Press of Northampton, Massachusetts, all are “roses,” relatively few in number but beautiful. There are a little under 30 titles shown, about evenly divided between Greek and Latin literature, and about half published in this country and about half abroad. Also shown are ephemeral publications (e.g., the prospectus for the Mosher checklist published by Gehenna Press in 1966). The exhibit came about in connection with the annual meeting of a classical association held at Trinity College. The meeting concluded in the Watkinson Library with a reception and a presentation about the exhibition.

The fine presses represented, in addition to Ashendene and Gehenna, are Shakespeare Head, Nonesuch, Chismark, Chilmark, Officina Bodoni, T. B. Mosher, the Limited Editions Club, and the Bibliophile Society. Texts are in Latin, Greek, and in translation, often with illustrations by prominent artists. Highlights include the Ashendene Thucydides, the Limited Editions CLub publication of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata illustrated and signed by Picasso, and the Officina Bodoni reprint of the 1470 Veronese edition of Caxton’s translation of Aesop. Also shown are ephemeral publications of some of the presses, such as specimen pages and prospectuses relating to books on display.

The exhibition will run from Oct. 25, 1999 through January 2000. For information about the exhibition please call or e-mail Alesandra Schmidt Woodhouse at (860) 297-2267 or at < alesandra.schmidt@mail.trincoll.edu >.