Bibliographical Jots and Jingles
Matthew McLennan Young is the author of Field & Tuer, The Leadenhall Press: A Checklist, the first comprehensive bibliography on this subject, which has recently been published by Oak Knoll Press. Andrew W. Tuer (1838-1900) was as one of the most influential printers of the Victorian period. With The Leadenhall Press he published hundreds of titles in almost every subject area, from sixpenny pamphlets to limited editions, periodicals like The Paper & Printing Trades Journal or The Printers International Specimen Exchange, Jerome K. Jerome's first book On the Stage - and Off and Sir Montague Shearman's Foot-Ball: Its History for Five Centuries.
Matthew McLennan Young's outstanding work includes a portrait of Andrew Tuer and an annotated bibliography which lists nearly 450 publications by Field & Tuer and The Leadenhall Press from 1863 to 1913. For the Oak Knoll Biblio-Blog he has given an account of a post-publication discovery.
"Every bibliographer must be prepared for post-publication discovery. In my case, I hoped for it. I had stumbled upon and been captivated by an imaginative and energetic late Victorian London publisher whose history was all but unrecorded, yet who (I was to learn) enjoyed worldwide respect in his lifetime and was at the forefront of the revival of fine printing during the 1880s. Since the publisher’s archives did not survive, and prior scholarship was sketchy at best, I was curious to see what new information might come to light as a result of my efforts. I did not have to wait long.
Last June, shortly after my book appeared, a London chartered accountant named Peter Lobbenberg contacted me to say, 'I was thrilled to discover, just today, your book on Andrew Tuer and the Leadenhall Press. I have immediately ordered it from Oak Knoll. I was blissfully unaware that there were other Leadenhall Press fans apart from me!' He was immediately able to correct me on a couple of relatively minor points and add several items to my list of known ephemera. No wonder: Peter has what may well be the most remarkable collection of Leadenhall Press books in private hands, including proof copies with original art, association copies, correspondence, prints, and scarce ephemera. Among the latter is the one-page prospectus for 'Horn-Book Jingles' by Mrs. Arthur (Georgie) Gaskin, an item I had listed but not been able to locate, as well as a four-page version with order form that I had not found in my research. Peter and I now carry on a regular email dialogue on various aspects of the Press, its publications, and associations. I look forward to seeing his treasures some day soon.
Not two weeks after first hearing from Peter, I received an email from Andrea Immel, Curator of the Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton, in which she wrote, 'I discovered that some years ago Mr. Cotsen purchased all the artwork by Georgie Gaskin for the Leadenhall Press 'Horn-book Jingles'. This is a horrible thing to do to a bibliographer who has just published a magnum opus, but I thought you’d rather know they survived than not!' I couldn’t have been more thrilled. A few days later I was able to compare the original art (drawn and hand-lettered on 73 sheets of card) with the printed pages and take photographs for reference. In turn, I was able to provide Andrea with additional provenance going back to the sale of part of Andrew Tuer’s collection after his death, at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge on July 17, 1900. (The drawings went to Maggs for £3, 3s.) As a result, I have been invited to provide a cover note for an upcoming issue of the 'Princeton University Library Chronicle'.
Every discovery and bit of shared knowledge contributes to a more complete history of a publisher whose books deserve to be remembered and enjoyed today. I hope that, in due course, there will be enough new information to warrant a revised edition or addendum. In the mean time, I’m jotting down notes!"