(London: Privately printed at the Chiswick Press, 1923). 403 x 283 mm. (15 7/8 x 11 1/8"). Four volumes. Compiled by Edward Clayton. FIRST EDITION. ONE OF 120 COPIES.
IMPRESSIVE RED CRUSHED MOROCCO BY RIVIERE & SON (signed on front turn-ins), triple ruled boards, raised bands, spines gilt in seven compartments, three with lettering, four with ornately gilt foliate cornerpieces and a blooming pineapple shrub centerpiece surrounded by star and circle tools, densely gilt inner dentelles, blue silk pastedowns and free endleaves, top edges gilt, in numbered cloth slipcases (one of the slipcases inexpertly taped along the bottom). WITH 153 VERY FINE ENGRAVED PLATES, 62 OF WHICH ARE COLORED. Captioned tissue guards. A BEAUTIFUL SET, with only the most trivial of imperfections.
This rare set has great appeal both for the charm and quality of its illustrations and for Edward Clayton's interesting and informed commentary, and the whole beautifully produced and very substantial work is pleasing as a physical object on the shelf. The works are arranged alphabetically by artist, and many of the great names of the French rococo, such as Boucher and Fragonard, are well represented. As is typical of the era, scenes of daily life among the highest echelons of society predominate (the figures sometimes dressed, for playful sport, in silken shepherd costume), and flirtation is a frequent theme. The final volume has a large section illustrating costume and an index enabling the reader to search by engraver. Late 19th century French lawyer and politician Albert Christophle was the original owner of this collection, which was purchased by American Joseph Early Widener to enhance the Widener family art collection, one of the most notable in the Western hemisphere. The nucleus of the family collection (of which the etchings form only a small part) was gathered by Peter Widener (1834-1915), who began as a modest Philadelphia butcher and became wealthy supplying the Union army with mutton during the Civil War. One of his sons died of typhoid, and another perished on the Titanic, so the entire family fortune went to the remaining son Joseph Widener (1871-1943), in his day one of America's wealthiest men. Joseph devoted himself to horse racing and art collecting, and his impressive gallery at Lynnewood Hall was visited by Spanish and Swedish royalty. In 1941 Widener donated the collection to the American public; the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. was built to house this magnificent artistic treasure. Riviere is considered one of the foremost names in English binding partly because the firm did consistently fine work and partly because it was so long in business. Robert Riviere started out as a bookseller and binder in Bath in 1829, then set up shop as a binder in London in 1840; in 1881, he took his grandson Percival Calkin into partnership, at which time the firm became known as Riviere & Son, and the bindery continued to do business until 1939. In the early part of the 20th century, an intense rivalry between Riviere and Sangorski & Sutcliffe developed, and collectors have reaped immense dividends ever since in the form of more and more elaborate work that was not infrequently of breathtaking beauty. (CAH1231)
Add to Cart Price: $7,500.00
PJP Catalog: 71.170