Desmond MacCarthy's Copy, in a Very Pretty Elaborately Inlaid Amateur Binding


(London: Geo. Bell & Sons, 1907). 175 x 111 mm. (6 7/8 x 4 3/8"). 2 p.l., 116 pp., [1] leaf (ads).

VERY PRETTY CONTEMPORARY DARK GREEN MOROCCO, INLAID AND GILT, covers with fillet frame, inlaid red morocco tulip cornerpieces, large central oval of gracefully entwined gilt vines and leaves terminating in red morocco tulips and accented with gilt circlets (the covers with a total of 52 inlaid blooms), raised bands, spine compartments adorned with gilt leaves and circlets, gilt titling and turn-ins (rear turn-in with binder's stamp of "B L M"[?]), top edge gilt. Front free endpaper with ink ownership inscription of Desmond MacCarthy, dated December 1, 1947 (see below). Spine sunned to an olive brown (as almost inevitably with green morocco), boards slightly splayed, isolated spots of foxing to opening leaves, two leaves with tiny marginal holes, other trivial imperfections, but a very pretty copy in excellent condition, fresh and clean internally, and the attractive binding bright and with only minimal wear.

In an extremely pleasing and ably executed amateur binding, this is an edition of an extremely popular poetry collection with ties to the Bloomsbury Group both through its author and its former owner. Poet Robert Bridges (1844-1930) had written verse since childhood, and continued to do so while studying and practicing medicine. He was friends with a number of writers, musicians, and other artists, including architect Alfred Waterhouse, whose daughter he married. Through his younger wife, Bridges became acquainted with a new generation of literary artists--among them Roger Fry, Virginia Woolf, W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Graves, and E. M. Forster--to whom he gave his support and encourgement. This collection of his shorter works was first published in 1890 and often reprinted (including in augmented form in 1896 and after). This popular acceptance, followed by the impressive sales of his "Poetical Works" (1912), was a major factor in his appointment as Poet Laureate in 1913. The very pleasing binding here is well designed and executed with considerable skill, though we do not know the identity of the binder. Marianne Tidcombe suggests that it may have been done by a pupil of Sangorski & Sutcliffe--perhaps male, based on the tools and design. Our former owner, literary reviewer and drama critic Desmond MacCarthy (1877-1952), had friends in common with Bridges, including Fry, Woolf, and Forster, so it is quite possible that the two were acquainted, despite the difference in their ages. MacCarthy's wife Molly is credited with coining the nickname "Bloomsbury Group."

Add to Cart Price: $700.00

PJP Catalog: 63.038


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