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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Celebration of Clare Leighton.
It’s wonderful to learn that the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts ( will be exhibiting a collection of Clare Leighton’s drawings, prints, posters, porcelain and books from October 19, 2013 through April 6, 2014.  
We have been admirers of Ms. Leighton’s writings and art for quite some time.  She is thought, by many, to have been one of the finest wood engravers of the twentieth century. She was born in England in 1898 and gained widespread renown there before bringing her considerable talents to America in 1939.... establishing residence first in Maryland, then in nearby Durham, North Carolina and finally in Connecticut.  
Ms. Leighton circa 1932
In her writings and in her art, she often celebrates the everyday as in her book, Four Hedges, where she writes:
 “I mow the lawn. How many people know the right way it should be done?  Feet should be bare; grass should be slightly damp.  The cold, moist clover strikes up from the mower upon my bare feet, and blades of cut grass and bits of slashed weeds stick between my toes.
We try, always, to have Ms. Leighton on our shelves and currently can offer the following:
From Four Hedges
We have a First American Edition of Four Hedges: A Gardener’s Chronicle written and illustrated by Ms. Leighton, published in 1935 consisting of 167 pages with 88 wood block illustrations. In the 1930s, Ms. Leighton settled in the countryside with her long-term partner, the political journalist Henry Noel Brailsford, and turned her creativity to the land. Gardening became her passion and this is the month by month chronicle of the garden she carved from meadowland deep in the Chiltern Hills of England.  It is a fine copy in dust jacket and signed by Ms. Leighton on the front end paper.  
It is priced at $150.
We also have a First Edition of One and Twenty published by the Duke University Press in 1945 consisting of 297 pages with 29 wood block illustrations.  Ms. Leighton, as a visiting lecturer in Art at Duke University, inspired the idea of a book of writings by Duke students to be illustrated by her art students. The writings were selected by esteemed Professor William Blackburn and the illustrations were by Ms. Leighton’s students.  And One and Twenty is notable for one other marked the first appearance in print for the celebrated Virginia born author, William Stryon.  The book is in very good condition in a dust jacket, with a “with the compliments of the author” card tipped in.  It is priced at $75. 
We have a copy of Where Land Meets Sea: The Tide Line of Cape Cod written and illustrated by Ms. Leighton, published in 1954, consisting of 202 pages with 38 wood block illustrations.  This book presents a collection of Ms. Leighton’s impressions of Cape Cod.  It is a very good copy in a dust jacket.  It is priced at $50.
From Growing New Roots
The fourth book we have is Growing New Roots: An Essay with Fourteen Wood Engravings published by The Book Club of California in 1976. In this book, Ms. Leighton writes of her first impressions of America and presents her interpretation of America in 14 exquisite wood engravings.  The book also includes a bibliography of books written or illustrated by Ms. Leighton.  This is copy Number 47 of 500 copies signed by Ms. Leighton.  It is in very good condition.  It is priced at $100.
We hope you will find your way to the Clare Leighton exhibition and when you do....leave some time to visit our favorite bookshop in Richmond, Black Swan Books at 2601 West Main Street.
 Thank you.

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