(Campden: Essex House Press, 1904). 225 x 175 mm. (8 3/4 x 6 7/8"). , lvi, , NO. 2 OF 75 COPIES.
Original blue-grey paper boards, printed label on spine, top edge trimmed, others untrimmed. With seven full-page or nearly full-page woodcut illustrations and one double-page map. Front pastedown with bookplate of Asa Lingard. Ransom, p. 268; Tomkinson, p. 76. Boards with some soiling around edges, spine and label slightly darkened, somewhat chipped, and with repaired tears at the tail, a little foxing along fore edge of text block and the occasional isolated spot internally, endpapers toned, but the contents otherwise very clean and bright, and the binding completely sound.
Beautifully printed and containing rather unusual subject matter for a private press book, this scarce work perfectly encapsulates the philosophy and ideals of its author, Essex House Press founder C. R. Ashbee. The contents contain the hitherto unpublished account books relating to the last 26 years of the so-called Cotswold Games, or Cotswold Olympicks, a long-held and somewhat riotous sporting tradition held in the area of Chipping Campden from the early 17th century through 1852. The Essex House Press, under the direction of Ashbee, had moved their premises to that same area only two years before, and took an active interest in preserving the local history. Preceding the transcription of the actual records is a lengthy essay by Ashbee, in which he gives a history of the Games and laments their demise as yet another victim of the Industrial Revolution, along with a way of life that, in Ashbee's mind, defined the English countryside. This work appears to be quite rare on the market, no doubt due to the limited number of copies printed. (CCS1908)
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