Category: Mark Samuels Lasner

Center for the Book Arts, New York, March 7, 2014

Mark Samuels Lasner, senior research fellow, University of Delaware Library, was an invited speaker on a panel in the “History of Book Design” series at the Center for Book Arts, New York, March 7. His presentation, “The Victorian Author as Designer,” included images of items from the Special Collections Department of the University of Delaware Library and from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the library. The other two speakers were William S. Peterson, professor emeritus, University of Maryland, and Jane R. Siegel, curator of rare books, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University.

Simeon Solomon Research Archive features Swinburne Association Item from Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, March 2014

Simeon Solomon Research Archive, an online resource devoted to the Victorian artist (1840-1905), has featured two posts about a book recently acquired by the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library. Solomon’s “A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep,” privately printed in 1871, is considered one of the key works of gay literature in the 19th century. This rare copy–one of about only sixteen known to exist–has the additional importance of having been presented by the author/artist to his close friend, the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne. See and

Collector Mark Samuels Lasner interviewed by Clara Finlay, October 2013

“The Morrisian,” Clara Finlay’s blog “about the famous poet, designer, and Socialist, William Morris,” has just published an interview: “Mark Samuels Lasner: The Collecting Life,” at

National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, Library of Congress, October 18, 2013

Mark Samuels Lasner was the invited speaker at the awards ceremony for the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, October 18, 2013 in Washington, D. C. First-place winners of college and university book collecting contests are automatically enrolled in this national contest, which is sponsored by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS), the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress) Contest, with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation.

“Collecting the Victorians” at Rockwood Mansion, Wilmington, Delaware, September 29, 2013

Mark Samuels Lasner spoke about collecting as part of the fall Friends of Rockwood lecture series. Rockwood is a Gothic Revival mansion built between 1851-1854 by Joseph Shipley in north Wilmington.

Mark Samuels Lasner in conversation with Diane Waggoner, National Gallery of Art, May 6, 2013

“Useful & Beautiful: William Morris and his Books,” Mark Samuels Lasner, in conversation with Diane Waggoner, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art, on Monday, 6 May 2013, at 12 noon.

The event, which is Free and Open to the Public, will take place in the East Building Concourse Auditorium at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

William Morris (1834-1896) gained fame as a designer, as a poet, as a socialist, as the founder of the arts and crafts movement, and as the maker of beautiful books at his Kelmscott Press, founded in 1891. In this illustrated conversation with National Gallery of Art curator Diane Waggoner, Mark Samuels Lasner explores Morris’s lifelong, multifaceted engagement with print–as a reader, author, collector, calligrapher, typographer, printer, and publisher–which culminated with the publication of the great Kelmscott Chaucer just before his death. Samuels Lasner will also touch on his own collecting of Morris and his circle.

More information:

Selections from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library, are included in “Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900″ and “Pre-Raphaelites and the Book,” currently on view at the National Gallery of Art through 19 May 2013.

Mark Samuels Lasner to deliver Ferguson lecture at Tulane University and other talks, March-May 2013

On Thursday, 4 April, Mark Samuels Lasner will give the Josephine Gessner Ferguson lecture in English Literature at Tulane University in New Orleans. This annual endowed lecture, sponsored by the Tulane English department and the university library, brings to Tulane a distinguished speaker who can make the connection between literature and the book. Samuels Lasner’s topic, “Useful & Beautiful: The Books of William Morris,” is therefore an appropriate one. In his presentation he will use materials from his own collection and from Tulane’s special collections to give an overview of Morris’s multiple role as author, collector, designer, typographer, and publisher and treat Morris’s impact on the book in his time and our own.

Samuels Lasner is also participating in a 13 March “collectors’ forum” at the Grolier Club associated with the exhibition, American Little Magazines of the 1890s. In addition he is speaking about dandyism on 9 May at one of a series of informal discussions hosted by the Providence Athenaeum in connection with Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion (see below).

Works from Mark Samuels Lasner Collection included in five (yes, five) exhibitions February, June 2013

About 60 books, manuscripts, artworks, and even realia from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection will be on view in museums this spring. Covering the Washington-to-Providence corridor the venues include the National Gallery of Art, the Grolier Club, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and the University of Delaware’s own University Gallery in Old College.

Christina Georgiana Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems (London, 1862).

Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems (London, 1862)

First up are two shows at the National Gallery, Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900, a version of the groundbreaking exhibition from Tare Britain (through 19 May) and Pre-Raphaelites and the Book, an additional special display (on through mid-August) made up almost entirely from MSL Collection materials. Included in the two exhibitions are Kelmscott Press titles, first editions of books by William Morris and Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, pencil drawings by Edward Burne-Jones, a Morris and Co. textile, and two star items: the illustrated manuscript visitorss book from the Burne-Jonesss holiday house in Rottingdean, Sussex, and a volume containing two calligraphic manuscripts by William Morris.

The Yellow Book, Volume I, April 1894 (London, 1894)

The Yellow Book Volume I, April 1894 (London, 1894)

In American Little Magazines of the 1890s: A Revolution in Print, at the Grolier Club in New York, copies of The Germ, The Yellow Book, The Savoy, The Page, and The Butterfly, together with a Beardsley poster and ephemera, show the British influence which engendered the plethora of avant-garde periodicals which appeared in this country from the mid-1890s through the 1920s.

Max Beerbohm, Self-caricature, pencil, ink, and watercolor, [ca. 1897-1900].

Max Beerbohm. Self-caricature. Pencil, ink, and watercolor [ca. 1897-1900]

Collection loans to Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion at RISD–the first major exploration of dandyism by any museum–include original caricatures by (and of) Max Beerbohm, Aubrey Beardsley’s self-portrait of 1894, and a first edition of Thomas Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus, an impassioned, satirical attack on the latter-day followers of Beau Brummell. The exhibition also includes Max Beerbohm’s walking stick and an Inverness cape and three-piece suit borrowed from Samuels Lasner’s own wardrobe–the first time that any of his clothes have been on display except on his body.
Finally, the only book in the University Gallery’s Gertrude Kasebier: The Complexity of Light and Shadow comes from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection. This is a copy of The Round Rabbit and Other Poems by Agnes Lee, published by Copeland and Day, Boston, in 1898. Its presence in a photography show is explained by the fact that the author was the model for some of Kasebier’s most famous images, including the iconic Blessed art thou … and by two further connections: the illustrations are by Rose O’Neil, another Kasbeier subject, and the publisher was F. Holland Day, the photographer who had introduced Lee to Kasebier. Although The Round Rabbit is an American work and outside the usual British focus of the collection it was acquired largely because of its wonderful cover design, by Olive Grover, depicting rows of rabbits.

The Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon Blog, February 2013

Paul van Capelleveen, rare book librarian at the Dutch national library in The Hague, recently came to the University of Delaware Library to see the collection. His research focuses on Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon, the illustrators and artists who, among other things, designed many of Oscar Wilde’s books and operated the Vale Press. A short note about his has appeared on his interesting and informative Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon blog devoted to these two remarkable figures. The post includes images from the dedication copy of the Vale Press Parables (1903) and a photograph of Capelleveen with Mark Samuels Lasner. When he was here Capelleveen generously made two gifts to the collection, a privately printed pamphlet he has issued containing a previously unpublished Wilde letter and a new book (limited edition of 75 copies) about the poet John Gray’s connections with the Netherlands. He reports that a further visit will be necessary to examine all the Ricketts and Shannon material in the collection; one day was not enough.

Lead Graffiti publishes The Multifaceted Mr. Morris: A Record of the Exhibition in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, University of Delaware Library, 1-30 October 2010 by Jane Marguerite Tippett, September 2012

Easily the most ambitious book project by Ray Nichols & Jill Cypher of Lead Graffiti, The Multifaceted Mr. Morris is the catalogue of the William Morris exhibition mounted in the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection for the “Useful & Beautiful” conference held in October 2010 at the University of Delaware. More than thirty books, manuscripts, drawings, and other works are described and an introduction tells the story of how the collector came to collect Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites. The author, Jane Marguerite Tippett, is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Delaware.

As Lead Graffiti approaches printing via letterpress as designers, they wanted to find an interesting way to incorporate visual elements into the project. Many of the pieces included in the book are fabulous, often either one-of-a-kind or ones with an important provenance. The designers took each entry and looked for some visual element they found interesting. Often it was typographic, in the instance of a photo or a drawing it might just be a small area or a word from a letter. These images were printed in a light tone to complement the main text. It will be interesting for someone who visits the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection to look through some of the pieces and see if they can find the image. Sometimes it will be obvious and sometimes obscure.

The July 2012 edition of Fine Books & Collections included an article on the book that included some additional information about Lead Graffiti.

Printed via letterpress in Caslon type in two colors with eight color plates, The Multifaceted Mr. Morris is issued in an edition of 150 copies, all bound by hand: 100 in wrappers and 50 hardbound in parchment backed boards, each signed by the relevant participants. The book is available from Lead Graffiti and from Oak Knoll Books.

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