Item Details

Price: $3,500
PJP Catalog: 61.125

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(Vale Press, 1903). 235 x 149 mm (9 1/4 x 5 7/8"). lv, [1] pp. Edited by Robert Steele. ONE OF 260 COPIES on paper. (Another 10 copies were printed on vellum.).

EXTREMELY PLEASING MIDNIGHT BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO, INTRICATELY GILT, BY STIKEMAN (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with gilt frame formed by three rows of tiny gilt circlets enclosing two intertwining vines that combine at 12 intervals to produce a trio of rose blossoms; raised bands, spine gilt in double-ruled compartments containing a tulip beneath a daisy, the flowers surrounded by gilt circlets, inner gilt dentelles, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. In a matching morocco-backed felt-lined solander box. Printed in red and black. Front pastedown with morocco bookplate of Paul Chevalier. Tompkinson, p. 171; Ransom 42. With the inevitable slight offsetting to free endpapers from the turn-ins, otherwise A MOST ATTRACTIVE COPY IN VERY FINE CONDITION, the binding lustrous and unworn, and the text with no signs of use.

Stikeman's work here adorns a substantial poem in rhyme-royal, "The Kingis Quair," or "King's Quire" (i.e., "King's Book"), composed in England in 1423-24 by James I of Scotland (1394-1437). James had been captured by the English at the age of 12 and detained for 19 years, during which time he became both well educated and betrothed to Lady Jane Beaufort, the heroine of the poem. The work is obviously imaginative and autobiographical, recounting the plight of a love-struck royal prisoner and his (eventually successful) entreaties of Minerva, Venus, and Fortune to aid him in his quest for Lady Jane's hand. The poem, which shows the influence of Chaucer, was discovered and first printed in 1783, and later was quoted from by Rossetti in his "The King's Tragedy," a work which has James, who was assassinated at Perth when he was 43, as its main character. This attractive edition by Charles Ricketts' Vale Press is printed in an uncial-style type appropriately called the King's Fount, and between the typography, the high quality paper that always comes with Vale Press printings, and especially the binding, this is an item with several sources of pleasure. The binding comes from the celebrated collection of Paul Edward Chevalier, about whom, see item #63, above.