Wright Studies THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL (1896-1898)
"I was about 27 and I had built the Winslow house in River Forest. In the basement of the house Mr. Winslow - who was fond of avocations - set up a printing press... I brought out a copy of William C. Gannet's (Sp) 'The House Beautiful,' an essay which I admired very much and which had been delivered in All Souls' Church. It was a charming thing, it charmed me, and so I suggested we print it. So we printed it, working evenings and Sundays, and finally had it bound with a square green board cover. I went out and gathered seed pods and deduced from them a certain ornament with which I embellished the volume, and bound some photographs which I myself made of the weeds in the beginning of the book, with a little cover and a quotation in gold letters from Shakespeare." October 25, 1955 in a talk to the Taliesin Fellowship.(3)
The Auvergne Press was established in February 1896 by two of Wright's clients William Herman Winslow and Chauncey L. Williams and create hand printed, limited edition books. The Winslow Residence (1894 - S.024) was Wright's first independent commission after leaving Sullivan's office.
Their first endeavor, their "first born" was "The Eve of St. Agnes" (copy No. 14). They asked Wright to design the title page, and proceeded to produce 65 copies on a "hand press for pleasure and friends... (using) hand-made paper". They were so pleased with there first project, completed on the 19th day of December 1896, that they began contemplating their second. Wright had been "charmed" by 'The House Beautiful', an essay published a year earlier, which he admired very much. While Williams' interest
faded, Wright and Winslow's hastened.
From its conception in 1896 to its completion in 1898, Frank Lloyd Wright and William Herman Winslow printed ninety copies of The House Beautiful on a hand press in Winslow’s now-famous River Forest, Illinois home, for which Frank Lloyd Wright was the architect. Wright designed the books, framing the text by William C. Gannett with intricate, tapestry-like patterns. The book was printed in black with red accents and bound with green endsheets. The boards were covered with the same paper as the endsheets and bound with a leather spine. Attached to the front endsheet was a booklet of twelve gravures of weeds and wildflowers - arranged and photographed by Wright - printed on mitsumata, a handmade Japanese paper. Wright contributed a frontispiece statement that read in part: "Appreciation of the beauty in his (Gannetts) work we weave, - in part ourselves to please, yet may we fare, and, weaving so, with you our pleasure share."
Although most were given away to friends, relatives and colleagues, they set the original price in 1898 at $6.00, the actual material and printing costs for each. (4 p.64)
In 1900 Robert C. Spencer, Jr. published "The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright" in the June issue of Architectural Review. He used seven elements in the article from his personal copy of "The House Beautiful".
Although others were planned, The Eve of St. Agnes and The House Beautiful were the only two Winslow/Wright collaborations produced by the Auvergne Press.
Text by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright April 2010.
The House Beautiful: Copies Known to Exist
Because only 90 original copies were printed, only about two dozen originals can be accounted for today. The following museums and individuals are known or thought to have copies of this book:
No. 1: Hasbrouck, William (individual). Used for the 1963 Facsimile Edition. No. 4: Library of Congress. Acquired 1980. (6) No. 5: Domino's Pizza Collection (2) No. 7: Chicago Historical Society (originally Edward C. Waller Family copy, donated by daughter Mrs. George Langhorne.) No. 8: University of Illinois (originally owned by Wright's sister Jane Porter) No. 9: James L. Yedor, Santa Ana, CA No. 10: Harvard University; Houghton Library (donated by W. H. Winslow's son Alan) No. 12: Canadian Center for Architecture. "To Geo Niedecken, with compliments of Frank Lloyd Wright, March 31, 1904." "Property of George M. Niedecken" "Property of Robert L. Jacobson. Gift from George M. Niedecken, March 1945." No. 18: Rev. Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Wright's Uncle, and a gift from Wright. Used for the 1996 Edition. Now owned by John Arthur (individual). No. 22: Avery Architecture Library, Columbia University (Two copies, one of which was originally owned by John Lloyd Wright, No. 52 or 57.) No. 30: University of Madison-Wisconsin, Kohler Art Library. No. 35: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale (Two copies, one was Frank Lloyd Wright's, the second No. 68 was originally Andrew Porters Copy) No. 39: Fordyce, Robert P. Exhibited at the Chapin Library, Williams College, June-Sept 2006. (8) No. 40: The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA. Acquired in 1987.
No. 43: Listed as item #19 in "Important 19th and 20th Century Architectural Objects and Designs" Hindman, 1990, pages 19. No. 45: Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson & Burnham Libraries. A gift from Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1926. A trustee for many years and a founder of Burnham Library. Most likely originally a gift from Wright to Shaw. (1 p.158) No. 47: Oak Park Public Library. Anonymous gift to the library on May 1, 1937. No. 52: Wright, John Lloyd. (Note: "My Father Who is on Earth" 1946, pages 42: "I am the proud possessor of number fifty-two." This later became part of the John Lloyd Wright Collection at the Avery Architectural Library. (See No. 57.) No. 57: Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University (Two copies, one of which was originally owned by John Lloyd Wright, No. 52 or 57.) (Note: Avery indicates they have No. 22 and 57. See No. 52) No. 68: Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale (Two copies, The first No. 35 was Frank Lloyd Wright's, this second was originally Andrew Porters Copy) Used for the 2006 Edition. No. 69: Steiner, Douglas M. and Christine J. (individual) (Partial: Cover, pages) No. 74: Wright, Frank Lloyd Preservation Trust. Belonged to William Drummond, donated to the library in 1979 by his family. No. 77: Listed as item #110 in "Important Frank Lloyd Wright & American Arts" Christie's 1988, pages 66-67. No. 80: Harvard University; Houghton Library No. __: Gannett, William C. Given to him as a gift on December 27, 1898 from Wright. (3 p64) No. __: Spencer, grandson-in-law of Wright's friend Robert C. Spencer (individual) Please contact us to pass on updates, corrections or additional information. email@example.com THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 1895 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL CELLOTYPE 1897 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL No. 69 WILLIAM C. GANNETT THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 1963 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 1996 THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL 2006 RELATED BOOKS AND ARTICLES The House Beautiful 1895
The House Beautiful Collotype 1897
The House Beautiful 1896-98, No. 69 (Partial)
The House Beautiful 1896-98, No. 9
These next three photos are photos of the original 1896 version, No. #9. Each copy was numbered and signed.
These three photographs courtesy James L. Yedor, Santa Ana, CA.
The House Beautiful 1963 The House Beautiful 1996
The House Beautiful 2006
YEAR TITLE AUTHOR DESCRIPTION PAGES ST# 1895 The House Beautiful (Hard Cover) (Published by James H. West Co., Boston Mass.) Gannett, William Channing 1895 Cloth Version, Pre Frank Lloyd Wright. This was published two - three years before Frank Lloyd Wright published his version. It was a version like this he read. "I brought out a copy of William C. Gannet's (Sp) 'The House Beautiful,' an essay which I admired very much...".(3) There at least two cloth hard cover version published by James H. West Co. This version: white cloth, gold stamped cover. Inside front and back cover white-ivory paper. Original HC List Price Cloth, 50 cents; white and gold, full gilt, in box, 75 cents. 4.6 x 6.25. (First Edition) Pp 60 0018.03.0301 1895 The House Beautiful (Hard Cover) (Published by James H. West Co., Boston Mass.) Gannett, William Channing 1895 Cloth Version, Pre Frank Lloyd Wright. This was published two - three years before Frank Lloyd Wright published his version. It was a version like this he read. "I brought out a copy of William C. Gannet's (Sp) 'The House Beautiful,' an essay which I admired very much...".(3) There at least two cloth hard cover version published by James H. West Co. This version: white cloth, gold stamped cover. The only difference between this and the above version is that the inside front and back cover is a printed and gold stamped floral patterned paper. Original HC List Price Cloth, 50 cents; white and gold, full gilt, in box, 75 cents. 4.6 x 6.25. (Note: water damaged cover) (First Edition) Pp 60 0018.04.1101 1895 The House Beautiful (Soft Cover) (Published by James H. West Co., Boston Mass.) Gannett, William Channing 1895 Tinted Paper, Choice Edition. Pre Frank Lloyd Wright. This was published two-three years before Frank Lloyd Wright published his version. It was a version like this he read. "I brought out a copy of William C. Gannet's (Sp) 'The House Beautiful,' an essay which I admired very much...".(3) "Paper, choice edition, silk-stitched, white of tinted covers, put in entitled envelopes" (inside back cover). Original SC List Price choice edition 15 cents; cheap edition, 6 cents. 4.6 x 6. (First Edition) Pp 26 0018.05.1101 1896 The House Beautiful (Original Collotype Proof) (Proof photographed and hand printed by Frank Lloyd Wright circa 1896. Proof on Japanese tissue before publication of "The House Beautiful" by William Channing Gannett. Auvergne Press, River Forest, Ill., 1897. Design: Frank Lloyd Wright. Frank Lloyd Wright After commissioning Wright to design his home in 1893, William Herman Winslow also charged him with the design of this book, which they printed together by hand. The text is a quintessential expression of Arts and Crafts philosophy, but the design, apart from its great emphasis on decoration does not follow the usual Arts and Crafts lines. Rather it shows the innovative brilliance of Wright, ahead of his time in bookwork, just as he was giving the lead in architecture. Published in: (Decorative Designs - Hanks, Pg 4), (Arch Rev 6/1900 pg 63), (Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie, Birk, Pg 77). This item was exhibited in Japan from January 2 - July 28, 1991 at four different museums as part of the exhibit titled “Frank Lloyd Wright Retrospective”. It was also printed in the Guide with the same name, page 225, item #183. (Sweeney 18) Proof 0018.01.0101 1896-8 House Beautiful, The (1896-8) (Published by The Auvergne Press, River Forest. The Auvergne Press was established by two of Wright's clients, William H. Winslow and Chauncey L. Williams in the stable designed for Winslow.) Printed by hand by Winslow and Wright. Gannett, William Channing Cover Binding - Book #69 of 90. The House Beautiful was produced in a limited edition of 90. Includes fragments of an original binding of copy number 69 of edition of 90 which were handprinted by Wright. This book was acquired by Kelmscott Gallery, Chicago in the early 1980s from a member of the Fletcher family. Fletcher was W. H. Winslow's business partner and brother-in-law to John Wellborn Root of Burnham & Root. The corner was chewed on by a family dog and the book was incomplete, so the decision was made to disbind it and sell the pages individually. Includes the front green end papers with fold that held Wright’s collotypes (photos) and one original sheet of rice paper wrap. Also included are four pages of the original paper which includes title page and final blank spread, and back green end papers. 11.75 x 14. (First Edition) (Sweeney 18) Pp 55 0018.00.0806 1896-8 The House Beautiful, (1896-8). Gannett, William C. Four disbound ORIGINAL pages of Book 69 of 90, Frank Lloyd Wright designer. Auvergne Press, River Forest, Ill., 1896-8. After commissioning Wright to design his home in 1893, William Herman Winslow also charged him with the design of this book, which they printed together by hand. The text is a quintessential expression of Arts and Crafts philosophy, but the design, apart from its great emphasis on decoration does not follow the usual Arts and Crafts lines. Rather it shows the innovative brilliance of Wright, ahead of his time in bookwork, just as he was giving the lead in architecture. This copy was given by William Herman Winslow to his partner, John Fetcher, in the Winslow Ornamental Iron Works. Fetcher was also the brother-in-law of the architect John Wellborn Root. It was kept on a lower bookshelf and the binding was chewed by a dog. The entire book was subsequently dismantled. No other disbound copies are known to exist. Printed on both sides. Pages 24-27. (First Edition) (Sweeney 18) 0018.02.1200 1963 The House Beautiful, 1963 Facsimile Edition (Two Copies) (Hard Cover) (Published by W.R. Hasbrouck, A.I.A., The Prairie School Press, Park Forest, Illinois) Gannett, William Channing Originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright from 1896-8. This is a much more accurate reproduction than the 1996 version. Limited to 1,000 copies. Original HC List Price $22.50. Two Copies. (First Edition) (Sweeney 1530) Pp 55 1530.00.1200 1530.00.0404 1996 The House Beautiful (Designed By Frank Lloyd Wright in 1896-1897) (Hard Cover, DJ) (Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc., Petaluma, CA) Gannett, William Channing; Arthur, John This centennial edition is the first trade edition to reproduce the full text, gravure photographs, and Wright's design of the original. Each page of the original was photographed and reproduced (on a slightly smaller scale) to duplicate as closely as possible the delicate, elegant quality of Wright and Winslow's hand printing. The twelve gravure photographs are included in an introductory section, and a foreword by art historian and independent curator John Arthur has been added. (Publisher’s description). Originally designed in 1897 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Original HC List Price $29.95. 9.5 x 11. (First Edition) Pp 80 1996.12.0600 2006 The House Beautiful (Designed By Frank Lloyd Wright in 1896-1898) (Hard Cover, DJ) (Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc., Petaluma, CA) Gannett, William Channing; Kruty, Paul With a skilled hand for elegant design, Wright created The House Beautiful for the tiny Auvergne Press in the late 1890s; it was produced in an edition of just ninety copies. The book's author, the distinguished Unitarian minister William Gannett, proposed that spiritual, intellectual, societal, and corporeal health could be augmented by a properly designed and furnished home. This book's complex, exacting drawings--nine of which are in the archives of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, at Taliesin West--surround Gannett's lyrical prose and introduce new chapters. (Photography was one of Wright's interests, and twelve of his nature studies appeared in the book, as they do in this edition.) Once available only to colleagues of Gannett, Wright, and Auvergne's publisher, William Winslow, The House Beautiful epitomizes the cutting edge of avant-garde design, circa 1897. (Publisher’s description). With an essay by Paul Kruty. Original list price $25.00. 9.5 x 11. (First Edition) Pp 80 2006.31.0410
"The House Beautiful" Gannett, 1895 William Channing Gannett "The Eve of St. Agnes" Keats; Hunt, 1896. The House Beautiful (Original Collotype Proof) (Proof photographed and hand printed by Frank Lloyd Wright circa 1896-1897. "The Work of Frank Lloyd Wright" Architectural Review, VII #6 - June 1900, Spencer, Robert C., Jr, Pp 61-72. "An Autobiography" Wright, 1932, pages 123. "My Father Who is on Earth" Wright, 1946, pages 42-43, 151-172. "The House Beautiful" Gannett; Hasbrouck, 1963 "Book Review: The House Beautiful" Hobson, 1964, Prairie School Review - No 1, page 17. "Work of Frank Lloyd Wright, From 1893-1900" Spencer, 1964 (Reprint of June 1900 Architectural Review). (1) "Two Chicago Architects and Their Clients" Eaton, 1969. pages 67-74. "The Decorative Designs of Frank Lloyd Wright" Hanks, 1979, pages 2-4, 16, 31, 169-176, 181, 200-201. "Frank Lloyd Wright Kelmscott Gallery" Elliott, 1981, pages 53-54. .(6) "Library of Congress Acquisitions 1981-1982", LC, 1984, page 16. "Important Frank Lloyd Wright & American Arts" Christie's 1988, pages 66-67. (2) "Frank Lloyd Wright: Preserving an Architectural Heritage, Domino’s Collect" Hanks, 1989, pages 122-123, 130. "Frank Lloyd Wright Drawings. Masterworks from the Frank Lloyd Wright Archives" Pfeiffer, 1990, page 285. (3) "Frank Lloyd Wright Monograph 1887-1901", Text: Pfeiffer, Bruce Brooks;
Edited and Photographed: Futagawa, Yukio, 1991, page 102-103.
"Important 19th and 20th Century Architectural Objects and Designs" Hindman, 1990, pages 19. "Frank Lloyd Wright Retrospective" Mainichi, 1991, pages 225, 297. "Frank Lloyd Wright - A Biography" Secrest, 1992, pages 155, 193. (4) "Frank Lloyd Wright & The Book Arts" Hamilton, 1993, pages xi, 11, 52, 58-64, 85. "The House Beautiful" Gannett; Arthur, 1996. "Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie" Birk, 1998. Pg 77. "Frank Lloyd Wright’s House Beautiful" Maddex, 2000, pages 22, 40-44, 54, 58, 74, 157. "The House Beautiful" Gannett; Kurty, 2006. "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright" Levine, 1996, pages 19-21. "Frank Lloyd Wright: Graphic Artist" Fowler, 2002, pages 12-23. (5) "Frank Lloyd Wright and the House Beautiful. Designing an American Way" Boyd, Pfeiffer, 2005, pages 38-41, 160. (8) "Frank Lloyd Wright: Collected by Robert P. Fordyce", June-Sept 2006.