Not-So-Random House

Candide colophon

What is that little house in Random House’s logo? The New York Public Library explains (via):

In 1928, Random House commissioned the great American artist Rockwell Kent (1882–1971) to illustrate Voltaire’s Candide as the first book under its imprint. The volume’s colophon page contains the image of a house — intended to be where Candide and his companions lived and where they cultivated the final garden of the tale — which became the company’s logo, still in use today. Kent’s Candide is one of the landmarks of the American illustrated book, with specially made paper from France, a new typeface from Germany, and multiple illustrations, all exquisitely integrated. Random House issued a limited edition of 1,470 copies and another 95, these hand-colored in the artist’s studio.

Now, about that Bantam rooster…

Image: Kent’s colophon page for the 1928 Candide, number 83 of a limited edition of 95 copies hand-colored in Kent’s studio. Approximate value of the rare hand-colored books: $25,000. Image source: Felt & Wire.

Read more on Candide, including the Rockwell Kent edition, at the NYPL’s site for the recently closed exhibit on the book. About Voltaire himself, look here.

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