Owen Simmons’ The Book of Bread, 1902/3

Tin French loaf cross section from Owen Simmons’ The Book of Bread, 1903, via Public Domain Review

Owen Simmons’ scientific guide for commercial bakers, The Book of Bread, was published in an elaborately produced edition de luxe in 1902, and in a trade edition in 1903. The de luxe edition includes original silver bromide prints of full-size photos of various types of bread pasted in, while the trade edition uses photogravure.

Martin Parr considers it to be the first artist’s photobook, and I can’t think of a reason to disagree.

French Tin loaf in actual size but not here, silver bromide print from The Book of Bread deluxe edition, 1902, via a link mentioned on Public Domain Review

Prof. Shannon Mattern [@shannonmattern.bsky.social] brought this back to my attention this morning, after Public Domain Review posted about it in January, referencing a 2020 thread by a rare book dealer I don’t mention on a social media site I don’t link to. But that dealer’s thread did include images of the silver bromide prints, which are extraordinary, whereas the PDR scan is of the beautiful-but-more-conventional trade version.

The photographer remains unidentified.