In the Binding of the Archducal Chamber Bookbinder
My Hunting Expedition in the Year 1909
Seattle/Vancouver – Alaska – Chukchi Peninsula – Kamchatka
Gutmann, Rudolf Ritter von. (My Hunting Expedition in the Year 1909). Vienna, author’s edition printed as manuscript, 1912. 4to (12⅝ × 9⅞ × 1¾ in [32 × 25 × 4.5 cm]). 2 unpag. leaves title + dedication, 30 pp. With
route map + 87 heliogravures on mounted China
of varying size as separate plate each from the author’s on-the-spot photographs. Heavy hunt-green orig. half morocco on 5 ribs with the back leather reaching especially far into the color marbled boards + equally opulent leather corners as well as back-plate, ornamented full back gilt tooling + gilt lines on the boards, color marbled fly-leaves, hunt-green silk bookmark ribbon + gilt edges by
“Ferdinand Bakala, (Archducal Chamber Supplier
Vienna), IV. Belvederegasse 21.”
with his gilt armorial inscription in the upper inner board lower left.
No. 47/50 copies of the expedition report, “Dedicated to my mother in faithfulness”, of one of the top magnates of the k.k. monarchy of his time, whose unparalleled most comprehensively laid out collection of Ridinger prints established, owing to the noble 2-volume catalog of the collection written by Ignaz Schwarz – the baron’s once personal copy no. I of the but two Roman numbered of moreover in total just 202 here available – his fame as art collector permanently, even though constituting merely a part of his universal interests in art.
Present document numbered in printing of his otherwise hunting passion here then present as
with autograph 7-line dedication
“ (His dear in-law , / Dr. Carl Freiherr von Ferstel ,
in true friendship / dedicated / by the / author) .
Kallwang August 1924 .”
with the stable smell of course reminding of the “Ringstraßen architect” Heinrich von Ferstel (1828-1883) as the father, the, together with Hansen and Schmidt, “creator of modern Vienna” (Catholic Encyclopedia) with the Ferstel Palace at the Herrengasse as the city’s most modern building of the period of promoterism as crown jewel, though originating in the Abensperg-Traun Palace of 1651 with on its part once the first water pipe in a private building in Vienna.
Son Carl married Amelie Hartmann – daughter of the married Vienna court actor couple Ernst Hartmann and Helene Schneeberger – , whose sister Emelie had been married with Max von Gutmann, Rudolf’s stepbrother, but Rudolf himself with Heinrich’s granddaughter Marianne.
With a company of five Baron Gutmann left Europe June 15, 1909 on the Lloyd steamer Kaiser Wilhelm II to reach, after short stays in New York , Chicago and the Yellowstone Park, Seattle on July 6 and by this the Norwegian steamer Transit chartered for the purpose of the hunting expedition
“ at the coasts of Kamchatka , North Siberia and Alaska ”
which they boarded on the eighth.
“ We sailed towards happy free hunting …
I felt the whole fascination which lies in renouncing civilization , to employ in the wild country the own strength , the own will , to enjoy the new , to expect the unexpected , in the heart the wish
to bag the mightiest animals of the polar country . ”
After initial big hunting luck on Bald Eagles at Juneau, the mightiest of which impressing by a span of 2.27 m, the walruses at Nome were on the wish list.
“ In Nome we chartered a wooden schooner as our iron steamer could not have withstood the pressure of the ice … With regard to the advanced season we had to search for the walruses … in the polar ice and sail the frequently tempestuous Bering Strait. ”
July 22 they sighted the East Cap, the most eastern point of the old world. And Diana travelled with them.
“ During the day we stayed with these Chukchis in their village. Then the storm had driven away the clouds and the sun drove away the storm. The most splendid night, transformed to day by the midnight sun, leads us across the polar circle … Now dark masses appear … and a muffled roar becomes audible. After barely two days of searching we had found the walruses! ”
With respect to bears at the Anadyr River + Cape Navarin as the most northern coastal settlements of Eastern Siberia just as at the Baron Korff Bay at the coast of Kamchatka they had been taken in. With Petropavlovsk, capital of the latter, then also the turning point was reached and via north of the Aleutian Islands they returned to the southern coast of Alaska, to the sea-lions at Lighthouse Rock. “Only during few rare days in the course of the year it is possible to advance up to (the latter).” Then again northwards to the grounds of the reindeers and to Kenai Peninsula, “the home of the moose”! Up Kussiloff (Kasilof) River to Tustumena Lake as basis of the hunt. With September 22 as
“ The finest day of hunt I ever experienced .”
The expedition resulted in the following bag :
“ 6 Moose Bulls , 17 Walruses with tusks of up to 1.05 m , 3 Sea-lions , 1 Bear , 4 Caribous , 2 Alaska Dall Rams , 1 Kamchatka Snow Sheep , 2 Bald Eagles , further much moor and water fowl , grouses and porcupines . ”
It was a journey into regions whose game – so for instance a herd of moose or “Now the walruses recognized their enemy” – partly obviously never had sighted a human before, it was a hunting in jungles. Searched and experienced just in time before Kamchatka disappeared for decades as additionally military barred zone behind the Iron Curtain. “Not even presidents of other socialist countries were allowed by the government in Moscow to hunt there” (Horst Rademacher, [Volcanoes in Russia’s Wild East], in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of December 28, 1995).
Starting with Downtown Manhattan from the seaside the set of plates illustrates above all the course of the expedition in its places and their inhabitants, the communal with the latter at and with the ships + boats, then the really counting climaxes of the hunt. With “My Moose Antlers” as epilogue. Their reproduction as heliogravures – here executed by the Munich Graphic Company Pick and Co. – corresponds with the pretensions of author + contents:
“ Heliogravure, French photogravure, … is a process for the production of etchings on copperplates for intaglio printing developed 1878 by the Vienna painter Karl Klic. The h. is a copperplate printing by hand which originates on a photographic base …
Characteristic for the h. is the smoothness and warmth of the tone
as well as the mark of the edge of the plate which creates the connection with the engraving. The h. had a very important part in book illustration of 1890-1910, it was downright characteristic for the monochromatic illustration of
precious , splendid and high-quality books ,
especially of works which were printed in small editions . As it was expensive it was displaced later more and more by mechanic intaglio or collotype printing … ”
(Löffler-Kirchner, Lexikon des Gesamten Buchwesens, II , 80).
The opulence of here even 87 such works in the scope of the intended report thus speaks for itself. Their number obviously varies, ultimately reflecting the private character of practically each single copy. Numbered, though not without exception, throughout, the suite reaches with plate “88” its highest mark not only in the present case. Among the few copies provable here none counts more than 87 plates, however, just as here then, too. For beside those numbered in Arabic there are those not numbered – here 2 of them – as well as those marked in caps as here and there also elsewhere as “A” & “B”. Sequence and omissions of numbers vary from copy to copy. Even a copy proven here containing only 85 plates should be complete by itself and correspond to the respective selection the author had handed to the bookbinder.
The sequence here :
0 (for the map, this counted with would indeed result in “88”) – 1 – 2 – 6 – 3 – 5 – 7-9 – 11-26 – no no. – 27-32 – 34-44 – no no. – 46-59 – 62 – 61 – 60 – 63 – A – 65-73 – 75 – 74 – 76-79 – 84 – 85 – 82 – B – 80 – 83 – 81 – 86-88 .
Due to the heavy Japan mounting paper any later removal of a plate could not go undetected. Of the cover sheets similar to rice straw paper the one of the map creased, five small margin tears/tear offs were done acid-freely, three somewhat larger ones were left untouched for optical reason.
Mounting paper as text sheets uniform of course, qualified by the expert as “Imitation Japan, wood-free, yellowish”, otherwise standing for a hum, heavy Japan which communicates the importance of such volumes. The richly crafted back of the binding paled to light brown and at its joints here and there (most) minimally bruised. A minimal dent besides in the upper gilt line of the back-plate. Several folds above and/or below mostly a little torn and inconspicuously done with transparent acid-free material. Otherwise perfect. And delighting.
Leading back into other days .
Of hunting and … the making of books about it .
Offer no. 15,305 / price on application
“ (after postal problems with the delivery) I have now received the package. thank you for your perseverance (to find the parcel again) in this matter. Warm Regards … ”
(Mr. L. T., October 31, 2012)