Excerpt from the catalog of the collection
American Decorated Publishers' Bindings, 1872-1929
by Richard Minsky

Note: This is a draft--comments and suggestions are welcome!

The Oriental Influence

A Japanese Nightingale
by Onoto  Watanna (Winifred Eaton Babcock)
Illustrated and decorations by Genjiro Yeto (signed in plate Yeto 1901)
New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1902
21.3 x 14.2 cm.

Genjiro Yeto may have designed this unsigned cover, as the shapes of the flowers on the cover are almost identical to those in the signed background decorations - see  page 93 detail above. Edward Levin is not convinced of this, and suggests that it is probably by Jay Chambers, who had just joined the Decorative Designers. If Yeto did not do the design, it is heavily influenced by his interior decorations. The style of the gold title does not particularly enhance the Japanese feeling of the cover. It's possible that one artist did the image and another overlaid the type.

The Wooing Of Wistaria
by Onoto  Watanna (Winifred Eaton Babcock)
New York: Harper & Brothers 1902. 
21.3 x 14.2 cm.

  

Unlike the title lettering on A Japanese Nightingale, this title attempts to get a feeling of Japanese calligraphic strokes. John Lehner attributes this unsigned design to Lee Thayer for The Decorative Designers.  It has many elements in common with Yeto's decorations in A Japanese Nightingale, and the leaves and curlicue vine are similar to some of the other  decorations in that book. 

The Heart of Hyacinth
by Onoto  Watanna (Winifred Eaton Babcock)
Illustrations and decorations by Kyokichi Sano (signed in plate K Sano)
New York and London: Harper & Brothers, September, 1903
21.3 x 14.2 cm.
[DD]


This Decorative Designers cover is somewhat different from the earlier Watanna titles from Harper.  The use of the gold heart at the base of the leaves is one element. What is more interesting is that the letterforms are quite different, not just from the lettering on The Wooing of Wistaria, but each instance of the same letter is almost self-consciously different. In the details above, look at each of the three occurrences of the letter "A" in "Watanna" on the Hyacinth cover.  On the Wistaria cover (above center), and Tama (above right) the variations are much more subtle. To my eye, the calligraphy on WIstaria is more like that on Madame Butterfly than that on Hyacinth.

Tama
by Onoto  Watanna (Winifred Eaton Babcock)
Illustrations by Genjiro Kataoka (1910), decorations by Genjiro Yeto (1901) [these are the same person]
New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1910. Published October, 1910.  

This design is closer to The Wooing of Wistaria than to the other titles, and has the most sophisticated relationship between the text and image. The marginal decorations are the same used in A Japanese Nightingale.

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