(London: Printed for William Miller by W. Bulmer, 1811). 197 x 121 mm. (7 3/4 x 4 3/4"). 2 p.l., liii, [i], 215 pp.

VERY PRETTY MID-19TH CENTURY GREEN STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, INTRICATELY DECORATED IN GILT AND BLIND, BY W. BARRATT (ticket on front flyleaf), covers with broad, densely gilt frame and central lozenge containing a large and elaborate floral centerpiece, raised bands, spine panels filled with gilt, purple watered silk endleaves framed by gilt rolls, all edges gilt. With three engraved plates and five engraved vignettes. Verso of front endleaf with early inscription: "The Bookbinder's Tribute of Gratitude to Benj. Morland" and with bookplate of Cass Canfield; presentation letter to Canfield from Austen Kark laid in. Spine uniformly sunned to olive brown, slight rubbing to corners, bands, and joints, muted spotting to silk, plates with minor foxing, a hint of browning at the edges of some leaves, but still an excellent copy, with none of the condition issues serious, and with the elaborately decorated covers lustrous and unworn.

This is a doubly interesting presentation volume featuring an elaborately gilt binding and containing the popular poem by Falconer (1732-69), recounting the wreck of a ship on the coast of Greece. Written in three cantos, the work first appeared in 1762, with revised versions issued in 1764 and 1769, the year the author was drowned at sea, himself the victim of a shipwreck. Ramsden finds William Barratt in business at Lincoln's Inn Fields from 1837-66, at which time the business was taken over by William Henry Barratt, perhaps a son. The two Barratt bindings in the Ramsden Collection at the British Library are very simple, and show none of the exuberance of this special work. We do not know the identity of Benjamin Morland, to whom our binder expresses a debt of gratitude in his inscription, but we do know that presentations like this from binders of the period are very uncommon. As indicated by the enclosed letter, our volume became the vehicle for a second expression of gratitude, this time involving two well-known later figures: Austen Kark (1926-2002), a managing director of the BBC World Service, and Cass Canfield (1897-1986), who held top positions at Harper & Row for more than 35 years. Kark has sent the book to Canfield in "gratitude for [his] kindness and a delightful dinner party," at which Kark apparently acted badly, as he asks for forgiveness for having caused "pain [and] discomfort" during the occasion.

Add to Cart Price: $750.00

PJP Catalog: SE17BF.009


Browse Similar Items