Lithograph by William Nicholson of the Cambridge bookseller Gustave David, signed on the stone and in brown ink by Nicholson. No. 25 of 100 copies printed View larger
Lithograph by William Nicholson of the Cambridge bookseller Gustave David, signed on the stone and in brown ink by Nicholson. No. 25 of 100 copies printed
  • Lithograph by William Nicholson of the Cambridge bookseller Gustave David, signed on the stone and in brown ink by Nicholson. No. 25 of 100 copies printed
Nicholson (William), 1872-1949

Portrait of the bookseller Gustave David, sitting on a crate outside his stall in the Market Place, Cambridge, while a gowned student and another figure browse through the books on trestle tables behind, with a bicycle propped in the left foreground

London, [1926]
Colour lithograph, image 320 × 465 mm, sheet 440 × 570 mm, printed in black and blue, on smooth wove paper, signed and dated in the image (left) 1926 Nicholson; signed in brown ink on the recto Nicholson and No. 25 and Limited to 100 copies.

A portrait of the Cambridge bookseller Gustave David (1860-1936), seated on his stall near Great St. Mary’s Church, Cambridge. The print depends from a graphite drawing (221 × 165 mm) acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1985 (PD 267-1985); it is one of Nicholson’s infrequent essays in lithography. Our impression is titled in brown ink “Mr. David”, “No. 25”, and “Limited to 100 copies”. An impression hors série signed on the recto “Nicholson” and “No.”, in blue ink (not brown, as here), is in the British Museum. An impression additionally titled like ours in brown ink “Mr. David” and “No. 24”, was sold by Christie’s on 17 September 2009, lot 83 (mistakenly described as “an early working proof… reworked in places in blue crayon by the artist”); another impression titled in brown ink “Mr. David”, “No. 13”, and “Limited to 100 copies” was sold by Christie’s on 10 April 2013, lot 12.

Subjects
Book trade - United Kingdom, 1800-1919
Booksellers - David (Gustave), 1860-1936
Authors/Creators
Nicholson, William, 1872-1949
Artists/Illustrators
Nicholson, William, 1872-1949
Other names
David, Gustave, 1860-1936

Nicholson, William
Newark-on-Trent 1872 – 1949 Blewbury, Berkshire

Portrait of the bookseller Gustave David, sitting on a crate outside his stall in the Market Place, Cambridge, while a gowned student and another figure browse through the books on trestle tables behind, with a bicycle propped in the left foreground

[London] 1926

colour lithograph, image 320 × 465 mm, sheet 440 × 570 mm, printed in black and blue, on smooth wove paper, signed and dated in the image (left) 1926 Nicholson; signed in brown ink on the recto Nicholson and No. 25 and Limited to 100 copies.

Several soft folds along right side of the sheet, apparently caused by former rolling. Light-stained, soiling (mostly confined to margins).

Mounted, framed and glazed (James Bourlet & Sons Ltd.)

reference Colin Campbell, William Nicholson: the Graphic Work (London 1992), pp.139–140 (reproduced fig. 138) and p.227 no. 187

A portrait of the Cambridge bookseller Gustave David (1860–1936), seated on his stall near Great St. Mary’s Church, Cambridge. The print depends from a graphite drawing (221 × 165 mm) recently acquired by the Fitzwilliam Museum;1 it is ‘one of Nicholson’s infrequent essays in lithography’.

Lithograph by William Nicholson (sheet dimensions sheet 440 × 570 mm), signed on the stone and in brown ink by Nicholson. No. 25 of 100 copies printed

Gustave David had a recognizable influence in the intellectual life of the University and a legendary role in developing the libraries of several generations of Cambridge bibliophiles, among them E.P. Goldschmidt, Stephen Gaselee, Maynard and Geoffrey Keynes,2 and Raymond Lister.3 Toward the end of David’s career, the University offered him in recognition of the ‘conspicuous services he has rendered the cause of Humane Letters’4 either an honorary ma or a luncheon in the Hall of Trinity College; he chose the latter. It seems that Nicholson’s print was issued then, as a keepsake.5 After his death, a handful of affectionate tributes were collected in a volume published at the University Press and sold for the benefit of his widow. A detail from Nicholson’s portrait was reproduced as the frontispiece to that volume.6

Details
Details

Our impression is titled in brown ink ‘Mr. David’, ‘No. 25’, and ‘Limited to 100 copies’.7 An impression hors série signed on the recto ‘Nicholson’ and ‘No.’, in blue ink (not brown, as here), is in the British Museum.8 An impression additionally titled like ours in brown ink ‘Mr. David’ and ‘No. 24’, was sold by Christie’s in 2009,9 another impression titled in brown ink ‘Mr. David’, ‘No. 13’, and ‘Limited to 100 copies’ was sold by Christie’s in 2013.10

1. Fitzwilliam Museum, Department of Paintings, Drawings and Prints, PD 267–1985 (obtained from Robin Garton, Cambridge; gift of The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum, 1985); see Collections Explorer (record 12176).

2. Graham Chainey, A Literary history of Cambridge (Cambridge 1985), p.234; David Scrase and Peter Croft, Maynard Keynes: collector of pictures, books and manuscripts (Cambridge 1983), p.67; cf. David McKitterick, ‘The Young Geoffrey Keynes’ in The Book Collector 36 (1987), pp.491–517, maintaining (p.512) that Geoffrey Keynes in fact acquired few books on David’s stall, and was critical of David’s judgment of condition. See also A.N.L. Munby, ‘Book-Collecting in the 1930s’ in The Times Literary Supplement, issue 3714, 11 May 1973, p.536, recollecting David as ‘something of a tyrant’, who ‘awarded his books rather than sold them – and awarded them in the most arbitrary and unpredictable way’.

3. Raymond Lister, With my own wings: the memoirs of Raymond Lister (Cambridge 1994), p.67.

4. Roy Harley Lewis, Antiquarian books: an insider’s account (Newton Abbot 1978), pp.30–33, p.50 (detail from the print reproduced).

5. Campbell, op. cit., p.139.

6. David of Cambridge. Some appreciations (Cambridge 1937), p.[5]: ‘The publishers thank Sir William Nicholson for allowing them to reproduce part of his drawing of David at his stall’. The memoirs are by T.R. Glover (‘Mr. Gustave David – The Bookstall in the Cambridge Market’, reprinted from The Times, issue 47539, 23 November 1936, p.17), Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (from The Cambridge Review, 27 November 1936), W.H.D. Rouse (from The Cam, January 1937), H.F. Stewart (‘David of Cambridge’, from The Spectator, issue 5657, 27 November 1936, pp.938–939), and S.C. Roberts, together with some anonymous verses, ‘The Song of David’ (reprinted apparently from The Cambridge Review, [c. 1923]; cf. The Times Literary Supplement, issue 1831, 6 March 1937, p.172, with reproduction of the detail from Nicholson’s print). ‘The price is 6d., and any profits are to go to David’s widow’ (The London Mercury 35, 1937, p.628). ‘This book will be of value to anyone with an interest in the history of one of Cambridge’s enduring personalities’ (publishers’ advertisment for a reprint, April 2015; isbn 9781107495043).

7. Cf. Campbell, op. cit., p.227: ‘The size of the edition has not been established’.

8. British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings, 1939,0817.2.

9. Christie’s, London (King Street), Old Master, Modern & Contemporary Prints, 17 September 2009, lot 83. The impression was mistakenly described as ‘an early working proof… reworked in places in blue crayon by the artist’ (price realised £3,250 inclusive).

10. Christie’s, London (South Kensington), Prints and Multiples, 10 April 2013, lot 12 (price realised £2,375 inclusive).

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