(CURWEN PRESS). (BINDINGS - MALTBY'S OF OXFORD). HORACE.
HORATI CARMINUM LIBRI IV.(Londini: Impensis Petr. Davies, 1926). 225 x 149 mm (8 7/8 x 5 7/8"). 2 p.l., 141,  pp. ONE OF 500 COPIES.
HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY HUNTER GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO BY MALTBY'S OF OXFORD (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers gilt with double-ruled border enclosing a large central rectangle formed by strapwork with intersecting lobes in the center of each side, raised bands, spine gilt in double-ruled compartments with small round tool cornerpieces, gilt-ruled turn-ins, top edge gilt, other edges rough trimmed. With five charming color vignettes by Véra Willoughby. Ransom 2602. Spine uniformly sunned toward a pleasing olive brown, but A VERY FINE COPY, the elegant text clean, fresh, and bright, and the very lustrous binding with only the most trivial signs of use.
Horace's four books of Odes--in which the poet reaches lyrical perfection--are presented here in the original Latin and in a very attractive typographic and bibliopegic package. Although the Curwen Press was founded (under a different name) in 1863, it became an important press in the world of private printing in 1914, when Harold Curwen (1885-1949), the grandson of the original founder, took control. In 1921, Oliver Simon (1895-1956) joined the firm, and he was instrumental in upgrading the quality of book production, in part by commissioning typefaces, illustrations, and decorations from, among others, Jan Van Krimpen, Rudolf Koch, Edward Bawden, Paul Nash, and Graham Sutherland. (Lovat Fraser was already working for the press when Simon came in). Glaister says that "the brilliantly successful association of Curwen and Simon led to a steady flow of fine books as well as jobbing printing of outstanding quality." Our volume was the first book published in England to use Koch's elegant Kursiv type, set by hand and printed on fine textured Ellerslie paper. Founded in 1834 by Henry Maltby, Maltby's Bookbinders continues in business in Oxford to this day, producing fine handcrafted bindings for private collections, limited editions, and royal libraries. The firm is well represented in connection with a wide range of books in ABPC. (ST11597a)