Berkeley, CA: Serendipity Books, 2000. Broadsheet title-page, 22.25 x 18 inches, 22 black-and-white silver gelatin prints, each tipped to mount and matted, signed and numbered in pencil by Gelberg on the verso of the photos and the matt, the photos 11 x 8.5 inches on 14 x 11 inch sheets, or vice versa, each with protective tissue guard over full matt. With: Text, 11 x 7.5 inches, 16 pages, sewn in decorated paper wrappers, printed paper label on front cover. The text in sunken panel at base of brown quarter morocco folding case. Item #407707
One of only 15 copies of this monumental photographic homage to and celebration of Martin Stone. Letterpress and design by Alastair Johnston, Poltroon Press, Berkeley. Portfolio casing by John Demeritt.
In the 1960s, Martin Stone (1946-2016) was a well-known London-based guitarist – he was considered as a replacement for Brian Jones in the Rolling Stones and was a regular in Marianne Faithfull's touring band. But in the 1980s, Stone immersed himself in the book trade and in book collecting. A great fan of the writer M.P. Shiel, Stone was inspired to collect his works, but did not stop there. He left his mark all over the trade with his uncanny knack for finding books, and his outstanding personal collection of 19th and 20th century French poetry was acquired by Cambridge University in 2019.
Colophon: "This edition is strictly limited to fifteen sets – all the photographs the artist could print by hand in one and one-half years. In addition, one additional boxed set, only, marked artist's copy, was preserved and given to Mr. Gerber, in thanks. The first series of images was begun on the occasion of Serendipity's seventh biennial open house, February 10, 1999, at 1201 University Ave in Berkeley. The garden images were taken some weeks later, by which time Martin had acquired a full set of new teeth, fashioned by a generous dentist from Washington state who happened to wander into Serendipity during Martin's time of need. Marie Wilson, a good witch and artist in Oakland, and the wife of poet Nanos Valaoritis, fashioned the garden.
"Each photograph is signed by the artist on the verso and on the mat; each image is mounted and matted by Greg Clayton (the Royal Chop Shop in Berkeley). The images were printed on Ilford Multigrade Warmtone Fiber-based Paper, toned in a Selenium bath (for a subtle reddish-brown tonal shift as well as for archival permanence), from Kodak T-Maw 3200, Ilford Delta 3200, and Kodak High Speed Infrared negatives. All but two images (those from Delta 3200 120 roll film) are from 32mm negatives. Each print was processed by hand by the photographer according to standard archival guidelines for maximum longevity."
In his publisher's statement, Peter Howard recounts his mentors – Margie Cohn, Maxwell Hunley, Norman Kane, Preston McMann, David Magee, John Swingle, and Henry Wenning – and the sad realization that he did not have any photographs of them. That was why he began to take photographs of his friends and colleagues twenty years earlier, "but I lost heart when one of them quarreled with me. I put my camera down." And then Steven Gelberg asked if he could take pictures inside Serendipity, and he set him on his task. When it came to document the legendary book scout Martin Stone, "I knew then that Steven was the artist who might be able to catch and preserve for a while some moments of the book people in our time, while they were still alive."
WorldCat/OCLC locates four copies: Harvard, Indiana University, the San Francisco Public Library, and Stanford.