Hogarth Press first edition book jacket designs
Virginia Woolf, Roger Fry (1940). Cover design and portrait of Roger Fry by Vanessa Bell
“Virginia’s biography of Roger Fry, a study of the painter and art critic, had been urged on her by Fry’s widow, Margery, and by Vanessa Bell after his death in 1934. It was her next book after Three Guineas (1938) and the last book she published with the press whilst she was still alive. Leonard thought she should not have undertaken it, and when it was completed, he thought it one of her four books written against the grain. Virginia often found the research and writing both restrictive and burdensome, curtailed as she was by propriety from treating openly Fry’s personal and sexual life (his passionate affair with Vanessa, for example); yet much of the work was intellectually and artistically challenging as she strove to create a critical biography of a man she had known and deeply admired since 1911.”
J.H. Willis Jr, Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: The Hogarth Press 1917-1941
Hogarth Press studies
Woolf’s-head Publishing is a wonderful collection of cover designs, book jackets, and illustrations – but also a beautiful example of book production in its own right. It was produced as an exhibition catalogue and has quite rightly gone on to enjoy an independent life of its own. This book is a genuine collector’s item, and only months after its first publication it started to win awards for its design and production values. Anyone with the slightest interest in book production, graphic design, typography, or Bloomsbury will want to own a copy the minute they clap eyes on it.
Leonard and Virginia Woolf as Publishers: Hogarth Press, 1917-41 John Willis brings the remarkable story of Leonard and Virginia Woolf’s success as publishers to life. He generates interesting thumbnail sketches of all the Hogarth Press authors, which brings both them and the books they wrote into sharp focus. He also follows the development of many of its best-selling titles, and there’s a full account of the social and cultural development of the press. This is a scholarly work with extensive footnotes, bibliographies, and suggestions for further reading – but most of all it is a very readable study in cultural history.
© Roy Johnson 2005