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Summa Theologica, 3 Volumes, 1947, Unique Bindings by Richard Tuttle



The Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas

First Complete American Edition, 1947, 3 Volumes

Published by Benziger Brothers, New York in 1947

Unique Full Leather Bindings by Richard Tuttle

FINE Condition

Binding Details:  As with all of Richard Tuttle’s pieces, this is a one of a kind binding that captures the spirit of the book and returns us to a time when books were beautiful to display as well as read. In a world of mediocrity and mass produced books, he believes important literary works are special and should be treasured and passed on to future generations.

This is one of Richard Tuttle’s masterworks and is a remarkable piece of art that fully compliments the great work of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The three volumes have been rebound by Richard Tuttle in lambskin over sculpted boards that feature a wonderful combination of brass fittings that allow the volumes to be placed on top of each other and “liquid gold” inlays to both the front boards and spines. The photographs in the listing just cannot do justice to the workmanship and creativity of the bindings. The motif carries over to the unique hand crafted endpapers. Richard Tuttle’s artist signature and the binding date appear on the first free endpaper of Volume I. The bindings were done in 2013.

When stacked the 3 volumes measure approximately 10” x 7.5” x 12”. Volume I is 1,161 pages, Volume II is 2,565 pages, and Volume III is 3,970 pages.

Book Details:  The Summa Theologica, Saint Thomas Aquinas' brilliant synthesis of Christian thought, has had a decisive and permanent impact on philosophy and religion since the thirteenth century. As the title indicates, is a summing up of all that can be known about God and humanity's relations with God. Divided into three parts, the work consists of 38 tracts, 631 questions, about 3000 articles, 10,000 objections and their answers. This complete edition of the work, published in three volumes, was translated into English by the Fathers of the Dominican Province and first appeared in London in 1911. A revised edition was published in London in 1920 and in America in 1947. This is the first American Edition published by Benziger Brothers, New York in 1947. Internally, the books are in FINE condition. There are no signs of previous ownership.

Artist Statement: Included with the book is a signed artist statement by Richard Tuttle on the making of “Summa Theologica”.

About the Artist: Richard Tuttle is a painter, writer, graphic designer, carpenter, bookbinder and lover of literature. For the past 20 years, he has combined his many interests to create one of a kind works of art that merge the written word with fine leather, paper, paint, wood and veneer. These original book bindings have been exhibited in numerous galleries and were featured in a PBS documentary on the Chicago Art beat. Richard describes his work as follows:  “I make literary artifacts. They are designed to pull books down off the shelf and display them in the salon, gallery or home as if they were works of art, which, of course, they are. Whether binding books with leather, paper, paint, wood, and found artifacts or building sculptures to encase the volumes, I seek to find a perspective that shouts out a piece of the essence of the literary work. I try to put myself in the author's or character's mind to say something about the time it was written in; the attitude that is explored and expressed; the magic that makes it a work of art. While I obviously respect and admire the books I work on, the humor, wit and raw energy I find so attractive in their works leads me to places that some might call disrespectful, but are, for me, essential parts of these literary works. Motivated by Marcel Duchamp's attempts to elevate the object into art and William Blake's efforts to remake his world and James Joyce's efforts to include all culture and all action in one whole: Motivated by the ongoing conversation of Jazz musicians between its earliest practitioners and its most avante garde practitioners: Motivated by the great world library of "what we are" as extolled by Jorge Luis Borges: Motivated by the desire to live in a world that is conscious of itself and conscious of its ability to create itself: I create these art objects out of books in order be surrounded by a physical environment that reflects the world of ideas I want to live in.”

Condition Report: The bindings are in FINE condition.

Photographs of the bindings and endpaper treatment appear in the photo section of the listing.