Fountain Library

Methuen & Co., Ltd. (London, UK)
Series dates: 1934-1941
Size: 5″ x 7″
Revised 5/23/2023

Methuen’s Fountain Library appeared in 1934 and issued occasional new titles until 1939, with reprints until the early 1940s. The series reached at least 27 titles (see below for a list). The series consisted mostly of titles from Methuen’s back catalog, with multiple volumes from A.P. Herbert, Oscar Wilde, Hilaire Belloc, Sellar & Yeatman, and G.K. Chesterton. In 1936 a few titles begin to appear as paperbound editions.

The Fountain Library series name had been used by John Kempster & Company (London, UK) for a series published around 1875.

Initial dust jackets for the series consist of a vaguely Art Deco design, common to the series titles. The spine includes the book title, author, series name, price (2/6 net), and author. A fountain colophon is placed near the base of the spine. The front of the jacket repeats the title, author, and series name. The front jacket flap, in this case, includes contents for the title: Oscar Wilde’s collection of essays, Intentions. This title is from the first year of the series, 1934, and is one of the initial four titles in the series.

The rear of the jacket includes the series name, the initial four series, the book size (“Small Crown 8vo”), price, publisher, and directions to the rear flap for a description of the series.

Bindings on green cloth have black typography, the series colophon, and the series name on the front of the book.

Blank end-papers:

The half-title includes the series’ name and book title.

An extensive printing history, from the first publication of these essays in 1891, is included on the copyright page. “Printed in Great Britain.”

At the end of the book: “Printed by Jarrold and Sons LTD. Norwich”

The jackets for the series are redesigned at some point after 1934.

fountain_logoThis copy of humorist A.P. Herbert’s Honeybubble & Co. was first published in the Fountain Library in 1936. This new design becomes common to the series (designed by J.L. Carstairs). The spine includes a graphic fountain design, but no mention of the series. The price is on the spine – in this case, 3s./6d. replacing the older 2s./6d. price. The jacket front contains the series name along with the price. The price increase sticker on the front of the jacket has been removed. The front flap includes a quick summary of the book.


The back of the jacket includes the 12 titles issued in the series as of 1936. The graphic design of the rear of the jacket remains similar to that of the earlier jacket. The rear flap advertises another A.P. Herbert title in the series.


Basic cloth bindings with black typography and decorations. The series’ name is indicated on the front of the book. Binding colors include green and orange.


The half-title page includes the series name and title of the book.


A list of 11 series titles faces the title page.


Original publication dates, as well as the date of publication in the Fountain Library, are included on the copyright page.


A mostly complete list of titles in the Fountain Library series:

The Open Road, E.V. Lucas
Last and First Men, Olaf Stapledon
The Sacred Wood, T.S. Eliot
Intentions, Oscar Wilde
The Water Gipsies, A.P. Herbert
The Old Flame, A.P. Herbert
Idols and Invalids, James Kemble
Whom God Hath Joined, Arnold Bennett
East Wind: West Wind, Pearl Buck
1066 And All That, Sellar & Yeatman
The Importance of Being Ernest, Oscar Wilde
The Secret Battle, A.P. Herbert
Honeybubble & Co., A.P. Herbert
A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde
And Now All This, Sellar & Yeatman
First and Last, Hilaire Belloc
Dan Russel the Fox, E. Somerville
Generally Speaking: A Book of Essays, G.K. Chesterton
The Uses of Diversity: A Book of Essays. G.K. Chesterton
A Book of Marvels, R.T. Gould
On Nothing and Kindred Subjects, Hilaire Belloc
Horse Nonsense, Sellar & Yeatman
De Profundis, Oscar Wilde
Alarms and Discursions, G.K. Chesterton
Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime, and Other Stories, Oscar Wilde
Lady Windermere’s Fan, Oscar Wilde
The Vicar of Morwenstow, S. Baring-Gould