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E.B. White. Less Than Nothing — or The Life and Times of Sterling Finny.
New York: The New Yorker, 1927. Octavo, original orange and black batik paper boards.
Illustrated with ten black-and-white photographs staged and shot by White. $3500.
First and only edition of E.B.White’s first book, a pitch-perfect series of comic
advertisements for
The NewYorker
, published in-house as a giveaway to friends
and advertisers of the magazine. Founded in 1925 by Harold Ross and Jane Grant,
The NewYorker
aimed to be “a reflection in word and picture of metropolitan life,”
a smart modern magazine “not edited for the old lady in Dubuque.”Writing
anonymously, young staff writer E.B.White epitomized
The NewYorker’s
style of
humor in this series of short features about a young couple of astonishing stupidity,
Sterling Finny and his wife Flora.
Deftly parodying the melodramatic “halitosis style” of advertising, in which a
seemingly trivial oversight leads to personal disaster,White describes ten scenarios
in which Sterling and Flora are saved from social death by a regular reading of
The NewYorker
. “Perhaps you, too, have failed at a summer colony because you left
everything to your gorgeous body. Have you ever been spoken of in whispers as ‘the
man with a physique only’?Why can’t you realize that there is an easy way to avoid
all this—simply by having your copy of
The NewYorker
sent to your summer
address?” Each of the ten advertisements is illustrated with a photograph of the
striving couple, played by a pair of mannequins thatWhite borrowed from
Wanamaker’s department store. A near-fine copy of a true modernist rarity.
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Frank Howard; [Henry Tupman]. Colour as a Means of Art, Being an Adaptation
of the Experience of Professors to the Practice of Amateurs.
London: 1842.
Octavo, modern three-quarter sheep. 94 pages, comprising Tupman’s manuscript copy
of Howard’s text, and eighteen original watercolors by Tupman. $1800.
Skillful manuscript copy of English painter Frank Howard’s popular introduction
to color theory, first published in 1838, with original watercolors in place of the
lithographed plates. Howard offers a historical survey of the use of color in
painting, introducing principles derived from the likes of Titian, Rubens and
Turner. In this manuscript, produced by an otherwise unknown art student, the
watercolors do more than simply mimic the lithographs in the printed book:
they serve as direct performances of the principles at hand, turning Howard’s
text into an art-historical activity book.
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[DESIGN]. A Tint Book of Historical Colours Suitable for Decorative Work.
De Luxe Edition.
London: Thomas Parsons & Sons, 1934. Quarto, original embossed
paper boards and endpapers, illustrated with 136 mounted paint chips. $500.
First edition, published as a resource for decorators by a London paint
manufacturer. The book offers a sweeping survey of color through the ages— 
PersianYellow, Chinese Turquoise, Tyrian Violet, Pompeian Red, Aubusson
Green, Rose Pompadour, Delft Blue—with historical commentary.
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