Green & Gold: what’s new in August?
Green & Gold - What's new for August 2023?
It’s winter here in Oz, which is a time I usually curl up with my vintage books – reading older classics that are new to me, re-reading old favourites, skipping through weighty tomes with myths and legends from around the world, as I sit in front of roaring fireplace with a glass of wine… I know that for many of my readers you are just coming to the end of your Summer holidays, so please consider this post as preparation for the upcoming cold weather!
So as I’ve been reading these books, I’ve added a few more guides to the website. If you love pretty vintage books, then some of these highly decorative series might take your fancy (not all are easy to find, but it’s easy to start with the popular titles, and it’s certainly fun tracking the rest of them down!)
First up is “Cloth Elegant” – A Collector’s Guide to Macmillan’s Cranford Series“ – this series is one of my personal favourites – the books are quite small, many of them are extremely affordable (definitely not all though – a few titles are crazy), and the illustrated stories are a delight to read. Published mostly in the 1890s, they feature effortlessly elegant decorative Art Nouveau covers done in gilt on a green background – many by the masterful Hugh Thomson, and I’ve also included a bunch of “imitator” volumes in the list which are usually cheaper but honestly just as pretty. There are a couple of other lists of these books I’ve seen on the web but I haven’t seen any that discuss the difference between the US and UK titles, nor some of the interesting backstory, so I thought it would be helpful to rectify this with my own article!
Next, I finally finished my guide to the Dent Dutton Children’s Illustrated Classics (CIC) series. It took me a while to get all the brightly patterned cloth covers scanned in, but the list includes all 100 of the books published (the series ran from the 1940s to the 1970s), along with author, illustrator, size, etc. You can find these easily in both the UK and the US with most of the titles available very cheaply. The writing style is old-fashioned for today’s audience, but the illustrations are lovely and all the classic titles are here. You can definitely see some inspiration for Penguin’s popular clothbound classics series in these vintage cover designs, and they add an intriguing pop of colour to any children’s library!
I mentioned that I’d also been dipping into some of my vintage myths and legends series – sadly I don’t have very many of this gaudy and gorgeous series of Harrap’s Famous Myths (most of the volumes are hard to get over here in Australia), but I’m slowly adding a volume or two each year and you should definitely check out the article even if you don’t plan to collect them – some of the cover designs are out of this world…
A similarly decorative Art Nouveau bound vintage series is the Gresham Myths and Legends collection. This series talks about myths and legends in literature and art at the turn of last century, and is also great fun to read (and show off in your shelves). It’s usually a bit more affordable than the Harrap series too…
And finally, in response to a reader request, I added a guide to the Canterbury Illustrated Classics (US), aka the Bath Treasury of Children’s Classics (UK). These are bright, clothbound children’s classics first published around 2017 that feature gilt accents and sprayed page edges, with classic vintage illustrations inside. If you’ve been collecting them, I noticed that some are starting to go out of print, so now is a good time to check through which titles you really want to include in your set.
If there are any series you’re interested in learning more about, please do feel free to drop me a note (through the contact page or in the comments below). I have more collecting guides on my “to do” list than I’ll ever probably have time to write up, so it helps me prioritise my eclectic writing schedule 🙂