(Stratford-on-Avon: Shakespeare Head Press, 1930). 298 x 203 mm. (11 3/4 x 8"). xx, 479 pp.Translated into English by Thomas Stapleton. Edited by Philip Hereford. ONE OF 475 COPIES.
Original calf-backed marbled paper boards, vellum tips, smooth spine titled in gilt, fore and tail edges untrimmed. In a brown cloth chemise and matching morocco-backed slipcase. With a map of Bede's England and woodcuts in text (some full-page). Front pastedown with morocco monogram bookplate of Charles C. Kalbfleisch. Printed in red and black in Cloister type. Ransom, pp. 16-17. Minor soiling to calf and boards, otherwise entirely clean and fresh inside and out.
This is quite an attractively made edition of the English version of Bede produced precisely in the middle of the 20-year period during which Franklin says that Shakespeare Head was "the most mature and sophisticated of the private presses." Founded in 1904 by A. H. Bullen, the Shakespeare Head Press was taken over, upon Bullen's death in 1920, by Basil Blackwell and his partner. Bernard Newdigate was engaged as designer for the press, and for the next two decades Shakespeare Head became a leading producer of English privately printed books. The text of Bede is taken from the Thomas Stapleton translation as printed in Louvain in 1565, and the woodcuts are based upon the originals. The editor calls the Stapleton translation "splendid" and "loveable," and he acknowledges that the present printing was intended partly to rescue it from two centuries of oblivion that began when it was superseded in the 18th century. Our copy is bound, according to the half-sheet tip-in at the front, with "fresh skins of English calves by G. W. Russell & Co. of Hitchin, who, advised by Mr. Douglas Cockerell, have succeeded in producing skins with the natural surface unimpaired, which, it is confidently expected, will prove to be as durable as the 'calf' used for binding in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries." Based on the condition of our calf, this prediction has been borne out. (CBJ1713)
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