The Definitive Dwiggins no. 298—The Sun Dial Library: A list of binding and endpaper color combinations

I was curious to see if there was any pattern to the combination of binding colors (both inks and cloth) and endpaper colors (inks and paper) for the titles in The Sun Dial Library. Below I have paired bindings and endpapers for the titles illustrated on John Krygier’s website. [1]  I have added numbers based on the sequence of titles on the lists on his site which I believe reflects the order in which the books were published. [2]

There are twelve (or thirteen) binding color combinations, twelve endpaper color combinations, and thirteen pairings. I suspect that W.A. Dwiggins planned on twelve of each and that the discrepancy is due to either the difficulty of accurately mixing colors in the pre-PMS (Pantone Matching System) era or inexactness in the digital images used for this analysis. [3]

My conclusion is that the color pairings are random. They are not in any chronological order or in any rotation sequence. And the number of titles within each group is uneven. [4]

Pairings of The Sun Dial Library bindings and endpapers
lavender and black on vermilion binding; wine on ochre endpapers
The Bright Shawl by Joseph Hergesheimer
15. The Golden Age by Kenneth Grahame
24. The Quest of the Golden Girl by Richard Le Gallienne

lavender and black on vermilion binding; dusty rose on ochre endpapers
4. Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

lavender and black on green binding; sand on cream endpapers
8. Jeremy by Hugh Walpole
25. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy—black decoration on front missing from Krygier copy
27. Mr. Prohack by Arnold Bennett—the lavender appears darker in the Krygier copy
48. Casuals of the Sea by William McFee

lavender and black on green binding; tan on cream endpapers
nn. The Moonstone by Willkie Collins—the lavender appears darker in the Krygier copy

lavender and black on light brown binding; wine on ochre endpapers
3. Sandoval by Thomas Beer

salmon and black on tan binding; purple on cream endpapers
13. Dream Days by Kenneth Grahame
22. Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
47. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster

green and black on lemon yellow; Wedgwood blue on cream endpapers
11. A Mummer’s Tale by Anatole France
26. Van Bibber and Others by Richard Harding Davis
28. The Three Sisters by May Sinclair
51. Tono-Bungay by H.G. Wells

orange and black on red binding; mauve on cream endpapers
10. Roundabout by Nancy Hoyt
12. Christopher Ribbault: Roadmaker by Marguerite Bryant

orange and black on purple binding; dark green on ochre paper endpapers
9. Antic Hay by Aldous Huxley
19. The Jessamy Bride by F. Frankfort Moore
21. Nonsense Novels by Stephen Leacock—black decoration on front missing from Krygier copy
29. Multitude and Solitude by John Mansfield
34. The Sailor’s Return by David Garnett

chartreuse and black on navy blue binding; violet on ochre endpapers
2. Command by William McFee
18. The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
20. Nocturne by Frank Swinnerton
23. The Pines of Lory by J.A. Mitchell

yellow and purple on black binding; purple on cream endpapers
6. The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

maize and magenta on black binding; indigo blue on cream endpapers
41. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
52. The Longest Journey by E.M. Forster

green and magenta on black binding; bronze on cream endpapers
5. The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield
14. The Flying Inn by G.K. Chesterton
35. Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley—darker green and orchid
50. Go She Must by David Garnett

1. For images of the bindings and endpapers see Krygier’s site.
2. The Sun Dial Library published books in groups so the order is not an exact one. For instance, the first ten titles were published on September 1, 1928 with The Bright Shawl specifically cited as number one. But the order of the other nine seems arbitrary. The Moonstone does not appear on any of the lists.
3. The colors of the bindings may be affected by sunning and fading, though Krygier’s copies are all jacketed. I based my descriptions on the appearance of the colors on the binding front, not on the spine. In the pre-PMS era colors were mixed and matched by eye rather than formula. Thus colors used for titles published months or years apart may slightly differ. Also, the stamped ink colors may appear different depending on the colors of the cloth bindings underneath. The  quality of binding stamping for The Sun Dial Library seems to have been poor.
4. Krygier’s website does not show all 52 titles in The Sun Dial Library so it is possible that the groups might be better balanced. There are two copies of Dracula by Bram Stoker (no. 7) online with different binding colorations: green and magenta on black (with bronze on cream endpapers); and lavender and black on green (endpapers not shown). This suggests that titles may have been reprinted with different color pairings.