([Chipping Campden]: Essex House Press, 1904). 193 x 127 mm. (7 3/4 x 5"). 22 pp.,  leaf. No. 150 OF 150 COPIES, all ON VELLUM.
Pleasing contemporary burgundy morocco, covers and spine compartments with simple gilt rule border, raised bands, gilt titling, densely gilt turn-ins, top edge gilt. With hand-colored frontispiece by C. R. Ashbee, illuminated initials by Florence Kingsford, and hand-colored printer's device in colophon. Ransom, p. 268; Tomkinson, p. 77. Faint white residue to boards (from leather preservative), otherwise a very fine copy, pristine internally, in an unworn binding.
This is the 12th volume in the series of 14 "Great Poems" produced by Essex House Press, all printed on vellum. The present volume contains Goldsmith's 1770 paean to the small villages that were disappearing from the countryside as the wealthy bought up and enclosed land to create vast country estates. The poem decries the greed that values money and property over people and communities. Essex House Press was founded by C. R. Ashbee and Laurence Hodson in 1898, with the aim of carrying on the revival of hand printing led by William Morris' Kelmscott Press. To that end, they acquired the Albion press and other equipment (but not the types) used by Kelmscott, which had closed after Morris' death, and proceeded to publish finely printed books for 12 years. The illuminated letters here are the work of one of the leading book illuminators of the Arts & Crafts Movement, Florence Kingsford Cockerell (1871-1949), a pupil of calligrapher and type designer Edward Johnston. The attractive binding is unsigned, but the quality of the workmanship and the materials indicate a first-rate artisan. (CCS1905)
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PJP Catalog: BibWk21.049