London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1969. First Edition. Octavo, hard cover (22 x 14cm), pp. iii (1, blank) 316; black cloth covered boards, lettering in argent on spine.
LACKS DUST WRAPPER. Head of spine a tad brittle with a 3mm chip at the head of the front joint, starting at the foot of the front joint with 1cm separation; extensive underlining and marginalia in both pencil and red pen. Loosely inserted, a TLS from John Russell Taylor to author and President of the Bibliographic Society, John Carter; Carter’s response (unsigned); and tipped onto the ffep under John Carter’s signature is a news clipping with the headline “Libel Damages for Art Dealers”. The date Jan 21, 1970 has been added in red ball point.
The correspondence is pinned at the top left with Cater's unsigned response (a copy of the original sent?) laid on top of Taylor's letter. Taylor's letter on two pale blue sheets, the first with his letterhead in red ink and a note in pen "Ackd. Aug 21" at the top; Carter's response, dated 23rd September, 1969, is on very thin paper, a little foxed and chipped alone lhs, remnant of a piece of fabric tape also on lhs margin. The three pages togther are folded horizontally, all three sheets showing a faint vertical fold. Item #922
It can be inferred from the correspondence laid in that this copy belonged to John Carter and that he marked it liberally with comments, corrections and questions that he then communicated to Taylor by letter. The letter from Taylor, dated August 14, 1969, thanks Carter for reading the book, for not being "harder on it" and for offering his corrections and suggestions. He assures Carter these "will all be gratefully incorporated in the second printing which we hope may follow the first printing we are in trouble over at the moment – apart from anything else, we shall need it if paying off Mr Leggatt and partners is not to beggar us for years to come!” The art dealer referred to brought libel charges against Hodder and Stoughton and the authors. The tipped in news clipping dated 5 months after the correspondence, reports that the defendants “unreservedly withdrew all those unintended imputations of impropriety”. It would seem the book was withdrawn from circulation and a second printing with Carter’s corrections and suggestions did not make it to print.
Taylor then goes on to make a cheeky request that Carter might offer a character reference for a venture in which Taylor would advise a Canadian company on the buying and selling of art like shares. Carter’s response expresses some dubiousness at the notion of such a company, and suggests Taylor try to find a more plausible representative of “the art trade” than himself (Carter was then President of the Bibliographic Society). He nonetheless graciously concludes, “However you shall tell me more about this project if you have a moment before or after the Double Crown dinner on 7th October”. The Double Crown Club is a dining club and society of printers, publishers, book designers and illustrators in London.