This visual history brings together an extraordinary collection of books to illustrate a canon of more than five hundred years of Western book design. Beginning in 1471 with an edition printed by the influential Nicolas Jenson in Venice and ending in 2010 with a stylish design by Irma Boom, these exceptional and sometimes iconic work cover a broad range of genres: reference works and works of art, 'machines for reading' and picture books, prestigious collector's items and affordable paperbacks.
Since the fifteenth century, the printed book has been an essential carrier of information. And, for more than five hundred years, there have been designers, printers, and publishers who have extended the boundaries of their professions aesthetically and technically, producing books that are masterpieces of graphic art.
This sumptuous collection tells the history of the printed book through milestone publications and little-known treasures of the art of the book. The noted originators range from Jenson and Bellaert in the fifteenth century through Piranesi, Bodoni, and Bewick to Morris, Gill, Tschichold, and Birdsall in the modern age. The featured publications include "The Nuremberg Chronicle" from 1493―a masterpiece of integrated text and illustration; Maria Sibylla Merian’s book of insects from 1719; Muybridge’s 1887 "Animal Locomotion"; a photomontage book by John Heartfield published in 1929; and a 1937 edition of The Frogs by Aristophanes, produced by the Limited Editions Club of New York. 685+ color illustrations