(London: [Printed by The Curwen Press for] Cresset Press, 1929). 330 x 210 mm. (13 x 8 1/4"). 5 p.l., 406 pp.,  leaf. No. 84 OF 450 COPIES (and 30 copies on handmade paper).
Publisher's stiff vellum, smooth spine with black morocco label with gilt titling. With 14 woodcuts, each by a different artist. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of Cortlandt Field Bishop. Ransom, p. 7; Hughes-Stanton 6. Slight warping to boards, but the binding otherwise solid, and internally pristine, showing no signs of use.
An ambitious undertaking, a combination of fine letterpress printing by a notable printing house for an important private press, and dramatic woodcuts by prominent artists at the time, this is an immaculate copy once owned by a notable collector. The book features the work of 14 artists, many of them prominent wood engravers: Blair Hughes-Stanton, Gertrude Hermes, John Nash, Stephen Gooden, Eric Ravilious, René Ben Sussan, Frank Medworth, Leon Underwood, Eric Kennington, Mary Elizabeth Groom, Wladislaw Skoczylas, Hester Sainsbury, Eric Jones, and D. Galanis. The text is well printed with vast margins, and the plates are memorable because they provide a sampling of the range of images being produced at the time by the best artists at work in the woodcut medium. According to Ransom, the Cresset Press, which operated between 1927 and 1931 under the direction of Dennis M. Cohen and A. I. Meyers, had three aims: "the production of fine editions; the reprinting in an attractive, though not necessarily expensive, format of certain of the classics now difficult to obtain; and finally, the production of contemporary or other works of undisputed or artistic value." 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." (CBJ1740)
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