Joslin Hall Rare Books

Curious, Unusual, Interesting & Occasionally Useful Books of the 16th-20th Centuries exploring the skills, trades, lives and ways of other times...

 Sunday, December 17, 2017

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Casson, Stanley.
Some Modern Sculptors.

London Oxford University Press: 1928.

An attempt not to survey the whole of modern sculpture, but rather certain key portions. Casson begins with Rodin and others of the classical form, wends his way through Mestrovic and Rosandic, examines Eric Gill and Gaudier-Brzeska, and then concludes with Jacob Epstein and "Dramatic" sculpture. Stanley Casson (1889-1944) was a multi-talented art scholar and army officer who read Classical Archaeology at Oxford, served as Assistant Director of the British School at Athens, Special Lecturer in Art at Bristol University, and was Director of British Academy Excavations at Constantinople in 1928-1929. His publications include numerous articles and books on the subject of Classical Antiquities. He also had two distinguished war records, starting the First World War as an officer with an infantry regiment in the trenches of Flanders before becoming part of the British Salonika Force in 1916 and finally serving on the General Staff in 1918. His war poems, written in the Flanders mud, are now part of the War Poetry Collection at Napier University in Edinburgh. Starting in 1939 he again served the British government in Holland, and later transferred to Greece where he was serving as a liaison officer when he was killed in an airplane crash in 1944. This interesting association copy was owned by Francis Henry Taylor (!903-1957), and includes three typewritten letters written to Taylor by Casson, on New College, Oxford letterheads, from the early 1930s. A former Curator of Medieval Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Taylor was Director of the Worcester Art Museum at about the time of these letters, and eventually became Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The first letter simply greets him and extends Casson's admiration for an article that Taylor wrote on Greek sculpture the other two were evidently written after Taylor had taken a trip to London and the two had become friends. A few excerpts give a general idea of the scholarly goings on: [Aug 7th] "I enjoyed that evening in London more than I have enjoyed anything in this country for a very long time. My only sorrow is that I cannot give the return party to you here... How precisely I got home after you had decanted me from the taxi I cannot say. By strange luck I got into the right train and there remained semi-comatose until Oxford. Again Heaven aided and there was actually a taxi at the station... Meantime I suggest a good line of research would be to find out if Miss [R] keeps a stature of Hermes in her bedroom... By the way, Wilenski has just written a crazy book on "Modern Sculpture" that I find would serve as an admirable whipping post for discussing the ultra-modern coprolite-sculptors... Eric Gill, whom I saw on Sunday after our carouse, is commissioned to do some 150 full size figures on a new cathedral at Guildford in Surrey. He is getting together a band and going to do it in the real mediaeval manner (I mean as regards the organisation)." [Nov 2, 1932] "As to the statue, actually I see no reason to doubt it and it really is a scoop... but there will be Hells own row in Greece and someone will get the permanent push in Athens. I cant imagine how on earth they get such things out without being spotted. ... Meantime if in due course I can come over your way, as you suggest, I feel little doubt that I shall see U.S.A. a bit more from the right viewpoint than most of the many academics that sour the atmosphere of your genial land. Gawd, what stiffs we do send you sometimes!". A superlative association copy.

Hardcover. 7"x10", 119 pages, plus 40 b/w plates covers lightly faded, some general wear.

Inventory #: 5253
Price: $ 200.00      



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