Sassoon

Limited Editions

This section covers books published in limited editions. Sassoon loved to publish editions in limited numbers and the search for these is one of the things that makes collecting his books so exciting for me. Sassoon’s biographer, Geoffrey Keynes stated: “After the war Sassoon’s energies were partly taken up by his work as the first literary editor of the Daily Herald, started in 1919 as a new socialist newspaper, but he also returned to his former liking for privately printed books. Indeed, there can be few other English writers of equal calibre whose works have so often appeared in a private form.”

Of course, by their nature of being ‘limited’ and in many cases signed, the rarity of these publications demands a high price. Also, his early work such as Poems 1906, Orpheus in Diloeryum 1908 and Sonnets and Verses 1909, (Sassoon destroyed all but three copies of this last book), are practically unobtainable.

The books on this page are those that I have in my collection, and it is not a complete list of every limited edition Sassoon published. I am always looking out for more examples and very occasionally as I obtain them I will add them to this select list.

Nativity Limited Edition

Nativity By Siegfried Sassoon, (Keynes A27b). Published in 1927 by Faber & Gwyer. This was a limited Edition of the poem Nativity in the Ariel Poems series. 350 copies were published on handmade paper, this is copy 256.

 

 

 

The Heart's Journey Signed Limited Edition 1927

The Heart’s Journey, First English Limited Edition (Keynes A28). New York: Crosby Gaige, London: William Heinemann, Ltd. 1927. This edition was limited to 590 copies, of which 250 were for sale in the United Kingdom, each copy being signed by the author, Siegfried Sassoon.

Left: Printed front of the dust jacket. right: Title page, with Sassoon’s full signature between the two rosettes.

The book contained 28 poems and this particular copy is uncut, the top edges of each pair of pages remain joined together.

The Heart's Journey Signed Limited Edition 1927

 

 

 

To My Mother 220

Mother 1 220

Mother 2 220

Mother 3 180

To My Mother (Keynes A29b) Limited Edition - A poem by Siegfried Sassoon, published in 1928 by Faber & Gwyer Ltd. This was the large paper edition printed on handmade paper (Curwen Press), limited to 500 copies. Each copy was signed by Sassoon, this copy being number 169. Along with the poem the book also contains two drawings by Stephen Tennant. The contents of the book are the same as the ordinary edition, No. 14 in the Ariel Poems Series, published in the same year.

 

 

 

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man

Signature

Bookplate

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man - (Keynes A30b) By Siegfried Sassoon, published 29th October 1928, by Faber & Gwyer Ltd. This was printed on English hand-made paper and limited to 260 numbered copies, each copy was also signed (centre). The copy I now have in my possession is numbered 41. This book was only issued with a transparent tissue dust jacket, and it very rarely survives. I have seen dealers describe it as “missing its pictorial dust jacket,” this was never the case. This edition is larger in size compared to the the first ordinary edition, (22.5 x 14 cm as opposed to 18.5 x 12 cm). Keynes states that this special printing was an afterthought, made when the success of the ordinary edition was assured and the identity of the author known.

I was unaware when I bought this book in an on-line auction that it carried a bookplate. This ought to have been mentioned in the description. Although it does not affect the price, some collectors do not like bookplates in their books. This particular one though is of interest as it is the bookplate of Jean Hersholt (and signed by him), a leading light in radio and films in the first half of the 20th century.

 

 

 

US, illustrated edition of Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man.

Keynes does not describe this book as a separate publication in his bibliography, but in his description of the English illustrated edition (A30d) he notes that a “limited edition” of 1500 copies with Nicholson’s illustrations was published in New York in 1929 by Coward-McCann. That edition is the book shown here.

Interestingly, as can be seen, the book was issued with a slipcase, something that I have never seen before and as far as I can gather is quite a rare find if still present with the book.

In this particular case the dust jacket is in very poor condition and has since been covered with a protective sleeve to prevent further deterioration.

Memoirs of a Fox-Hunting Man with Slipcase

 

 

 

In Sicily

In Sicily, A poem, Ariel Poems No. 27 Limited Edition, (Keynes A34b), by Siegfried Sassoon, published in 1930 by Faber & Faber Ltd.

This copy No 319 of 400, signed by Sassoon

In Sicily Limitation Page

 

 

 

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

Signature

Photograph and Letter

Memoirs of an Infantry Officer - (Keynes A33b) By Siegfried Sassoon, published 18th September, 1930, by Faber & Faber. This was printed on English hand-made paper and limited to 750 numbered copies, each copy was also signed (centre). The copy I now have in my possession is numbered 539. This book was only issued with a transparent tissue dust jacket, and it very rarely survives. I have seen dealers describe it as “missing its pictorial dust jacket,” this was never the case. This edition is larger in size compared to the the first ordinary edition, (22.5 x 14 cm as opposed to 18.5 x 12 cm). Many of the pages are uncut.

Also included in the purchase of this book was an original photograph of Heytesbury House, taken just inside the original front gates, and an envelope containing a letter from Sassoon, dated 8.8.46, to a Mr. D. G. A. Low Esq. The letter, on Heytesbury House notepaper, talks about ‘Captain Huxtable,’ explaining he was really Captain Ruxton. Sassoon also discusses his mother’s house ‘Weirleigh,’ Paddock Wood, Matfield, and explains how to get there for a “stealthy inspection.” He ends, “I am glad my books have been a pleasure to you I quite understand about your pilgrimage.” Clearly Mr. Low was embarking on a trip to visit locations in Sassoon’s books and had asked for some advice. The letter carries Sassoon’s full signature and is a delight. The full transcript can be found on the Letters page.

 

 

 

To The Red Rose

To the Red Rose (Keynes A36b), by Siegfried Sassoon, published on 8th October, 1931, by Faber & Faber. Illustration inside by Stephen Tennant.

This edition, number 387 is one of only 400 copies published and is signed and numbered by Siegfried Sassoon.

It was preceded by the Ordinary Edition (Keynes A36), which was No. 34 of the Ariel Poems series.

To The Red Rose Signature

 

 

 

Vigils

Vigils (Keynes A39) First English Limited Edition. Collection of 22 Poems privately printed in 1934 by Siegfried Sassoon. This copy No 66 of 212.

Bound in undyed niger morocco, printed on handmade paper, engraved on copper by Charles Sigrist and frontispiece designed by Stephen Gooden.

Vigils No 66

 

 

 

Sherstons Progress

Signature

Sherston’s Progress - (Keynes A40b) By Siegfried Sassoon, published 3rd September, 1936, by Faber & Faber. This was printed on English hand-made paper and limited to 300 numbered copies, each copy was also signed (right). The copy I now have in my possession is numbered 151. This book was only issued with a transparent tissue dust jacket, and it very rarely survives. I have seen dealers describe it as “missing its pictorial dust jacket,” this was never the case. This edition is larger in size compared to the the first ordinary edition, (22.5 x 14 cm as opposed to 18.5 x 12 cm). Many of the pages are uncut.

 

 

 

Common Chords

Common Chords Title

RELEASE Common Chords

Common Chords

Common Chords

Common Chords, By Siegfried Sassoon, (Keynes A54), published in 1950 by Stanford Dingley and the Mill House Press. This hardback book of 18 poems was printed in a limited edition of 107 copies on handmade paper, seven of which were printed on white parchment. The two word title was printed in blue, and the titles of each poem in crimson.

 

 

 

The Tasking Cover

The Tasking Title

The Tasking Edition

The Tasking, (Keynes A56), By Siegfried Sassoon, printed for Sassoon and Geoffrey Keynes in 1954 by the Cambridge University Press. This collection of 24 poems was printed in a limited edition of 100 copies, this being copy E. The book is complete with its glassine wrapper. The book was designed by John Dreyfus in consultation with Brooke Crutchley and Geoffrey Keynes.

Sassoon had hoped to arrange the poems as a sequence, but eventually had to accept that they were separate condensations or considerations ... merely an exhibition of the spiritual and intellectual shortcomings of a man trying to find out for himself.’

 

 

 

An Adjustment, Foreword by Philip Gosse (Keynes A57), by Siegfried Sassoon. The Golden Head Press, Royston, Hertfordshire. A dramatic piece in one scene. This book was published in 1955 in a limited edition of 150 copies, this being copy number 133. The book contains a facsimile page from a first edition, The Young Cricketer’s Tutor, purchased by Sassoon in 1900 and given to the cricket-mad author Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) in 1923. Gosse explains in his foreword that Sassoon swapped this copy with Blunden in 1934 for a better quality second edition that was inscribed by Cowden Clark. Sassoon inserted the manuscript for An Adjustment into this second copy.

 

 

 

Lenten Illuminations - Sight Sufficient, First English Edition (Keynes A60), By Siegfried Sassoon, printed for Sassoon and Geoffrey Keynes in 1958 by the Cambridge University Press. This book, containing two poems was printed in a limited edition of 35 copies. The book is complete with its glassine wrapper. The book was designed by John Dreyfus in consultation with Brooke Crutchley and Geoffrey Keynes.

This book has only been traced institutionally eight times world wide, four times in the UK and four times in the US.

 

 

 

Lenten Illuminations

Lenten Illuminations and Sight Sufficient (Keynes A60c) Offprint Limited Edition of 200 copies, by Siegfried Sassoon. Two Poems printed in 1959 on handmade paper by Downside Abbey.

Numbered on the front flap of the wrapper, this copy is number 111.

Lenten Limitation Page

 

 

 

The Path To Peace

The Path To Peace

The Path To Peace

The Path To Peace, By Siegfried Sassoon, published in 1960 by the Stanbrook Abbey Press. This hardback book contains 29 poems, one, Awaitment, was laid in loose. The text is printed in black and blue on Hodgkinson’s handmade paper. The initial to the first line of the first poem is done by hand in burnished gold, the first initial to all of the other poems is done by hand in red. In the copy collated by Keynes, (A62), the ‘A’ in Awaitment is done by hand in green, in the copy I have, (right), which once belonged to Siegfried Sassoon, the ‘E’ is in red. The book has a cellophane dust jacket (top left).

(Top right) Towards the back of the book the following details are printed: “This book is handset in Jan van Krimpen’s Romulus Cancellaresca Bastarda printed in Great Britain at the Stanbrook Abbey Press, Worcester, during September & October 1960 bound by George Percival and Rigby Graham in a limited edition of 500 copies, comprising 20 copies on Millbourne handmade paper, bound in full vellum hand-lettered & gilded by Margaret Adams 480 copies on W. S. H. handmade paper, quarter-bound in vellum hand-lettered initials. Copy number 388 initials by Wendy Westover, gilding by Margaret Adams.”
Awaitment

 

 

 

Rogation 300

Rogation, (Keynes A61), one poem by Siegfried Sassoon. This is an absolute rarity - Keynes states “A single leaf of which a few copies were printed at the Marlborough College Press.” The poem, published in 1960, also contains Sassoon’s manuscript correction to the text.

Rogation is so rare it has not been traced to any institution in the UK, and found in just two locations in the US.

 

 

 

An Octave with Slipcase

An Octave Title and Photograph

An Octave, By Siegfried Sassoon, a hardback book with slipcase, published on 8th September 1966 “By a small group of his many friends and admirers.” There is a long list of subscribers at the back of the book which was printed by the Shenval Press, and has an Introduction by Charles Causley who wrote that the book contained a “group of [eight] devotional poems written at intervals during the seven years following 1957.” This book was printed in a limited edition of 350 copies, of which 100 were presented to Sassoon on his eightieth birthday and 250 were reserved for subscribers. This copy is number 307.

 

 

 

Something About Myself

Something About Myself

Something About Myself Title

Something About Myself, By Siegfried Sassoon, published in 1966 by the Stanbrook Abbey Press. This book, which was a short biography of a cat, written by Sassoon when he was eleven, was printed in a limited edition of 220 copies on handmade paper and was presented in a buckram flapcase. Printed  on the second front endpaper: ‘From the manuscript MORE POEMS by S. L. Sassoon, with illustrations. For Mamsy from Siegfried. October 20th-December 25th, 1897.’ Printed on the rear endpaper: ‘Written and illustrated by Margaret Adams reproduced from line blocks made by Siviter Smith Ltd. printed in England at the Stanbrook Abbey Press, Worcester on Millbourn Lexpar. Cover paper by Barcham Green Ltd. September 8th 1966.’

 

 

 

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