PHOTOBAKES

The Book of Bread [Deluxe issue]. 
   

London, Maclaren & Sons, [1903]. 

[offered with:]

SIMMONS, Owen.  The Book of Bread.  London, Maclaren & Sons, [1903].

[and with:]

LEWIS, T. Percy, and A.G. BROMLEY.  The Book of Cakes.  London, Maclaren & Sons, [1903]

1) 4to, pp. 360, with 12 chromolithographic plates (of which 4 on a vibrant blue background) and 10 silver bromide prints tipped in on card leaves (2 on green card, 8 on brown) with printed captions; a further 6 half-tone photographic illustrations printed in text; some very slight foxing, very gently toned in places, one or two spots or marks, small adhesion from p. 64 to facing plate, edges of silver bromide prints slightly silvered, occasionally very slightly creased at inner margin, some minor offsetting from the prints, otherwise an excellent copy; bound in the original pebble-grained red morocco, title blocked in gilt to upper board, spine gilt-ruled in compartments and lettered directly in gilt, turn-ins roll-tooled in gilt, edges gilt, red and gold marbled endpapers; corners slightly worn, stain to rear cover and part of spine. 

2) 4to, pp. 360, with 12 chromolithographic plates (of which 4 on a vibrant blue background), 8 photomechanical plates on navy blue card with printed captions, and 2 silver bromide prints tipped in on green card leaves with printed captions; a further 6 half-tone photographic illustrations printed in text; some slight foxing, the odd spot or marks, silver bromide prints slightly silvered with offsetting onto facing pages, edges of plates and prints occasionally slightly creased at inner margin, one bromide with short tears not affecting loaf, otherwise internally fresh and clean; bound in the original publisher’s green cloth, title blocked in gilt to upper board and in black to spine, border in black to upper board and spine; boards soiled and worn, gilt lettering worn away, joints and edges scuffed with some loss of cloth. 

3) 4to, pp. 228, with 48 chromolithographic plates, some enhanced with gold or silver; a further 8 half-tone photographic illustrations printed within text and 1 diagram; some slight foxing, occasional spots or marks, 7 plates loose, tear to head of pp. 181–190, stain to gutter of p. 124 and facing plate; bound in the original publisher’s green cloth, title and border blocked in black to upper board and the spine; boards soiled and worn, upper board faded, lettering worn away, joints and edges scuffed; ‘Big Top Birthday Greetings’ with corresponding drawing of a circus big top in pen to verso of first free endpaper.

£4500

Approximately:
US $5843€5351

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The Book of Bread [Deluxe issue]. 
   

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Extremely rare ‘edition de luxe’ of The Book of Bread, with ten silver bromide prints and in the original morocco binding, along with the standard first editions of The Book of Bread and The Book of Cakes, in their original green cloth bindings; combining both issues of the celebrated early photobook along with its confectionary counterpart, featuring life-sized photographic reproductions of loaves and captivating chromolithographic cakes.

Originally intended as a technical monograph on bread-making for manufacturers, The Book of Bread is now recognised for its artistic merit as an iconic piece of early conceptual art. ‘The Book of Bread is one of those rare books that can be judged by its cover, or rather, by its name. It is, as its title says, a book about bread. As Owen Simmons states in his introduction, it is a companion volume to ‘that most excellent “Book of Cakes”’. A monograph about the manufacture of bread, it is the bread-maker’s bread book, illustrated with photographs, about which Simmons – evidently a man who did not hold with false modesty – writes: ‘However critical readers might be, they will be forced to admit that never before have they seen such a complete collection of prize loaves illustrated in such an excellent manner.’ … The nineteenth-century photobook was primarily an archive in which the things of the world were stored and catalogued. Here, at the beginning of the twentieth century, one of the humblest, yet most essential of objects is catalogued as precisely, rigorously and objectively as any work by a 1980s Conceptual artist’ (Parr & Badger, The Photobook: A History I, p. 56).

The ‘edition de luxe’ of The Book of Bread was produced as a limited edition of 350 copies, and bound in morocco rather than the usual publisher’s green cloth. The most significant difference between the two issues, however, is in the photographic reproductions. Where the standard edition has only two tipped-in silver bromide prints on green card (along with eight photomechanical plates on black card), in the edition de luxe all ten are bromide prints (the additional eight on brown card).

The Book of Cakes, companion to The Book of Bread, also contains glorious technicolour plates of bakes, along with illustrations of decorating techniques such as marzipan fruits, sugar roses, piping, and lettering. Produced by T. Percy Lewis, the chairman of Confectionary Judges for the London Exhibition of 1903, and A.G. Bromley, a prize-winning confectioner, the work was the culmination of Maclaren & Son’s ambition to ‘produce a work upon British confectionary which would be creditable to the producers and valuable to the trade’, a publication intended to ‘mark an epoch in the art of confectionery, … destined to remain the standard work on the subject for many years’. The illustrations, with the exception of those for wedding, birthday, and similar cakes, were all reproduced from actual cakes, for which samples were submitted by a ‘small body of very willing and very able confectioners’ with most of the cakes made to order. The illustrations of wedding cakes come from prize-winning examples shown at the London International Exhibition, all of which had been previously photographed by Maclaren & Sons for use in their publication, The British Baker.

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