WALKS IN A FOREST.
(London: Printed by J. Davis, for B. and J. White, 1796). 191 x 127 mm. (7 1/2 x 5"). viii, [iv], 123 pp. Second Edition, corrected and enlarged.
ELEGANT CONTEMPORARY RED STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, HANDSOMELY GILT, BY CHARLES HERING [SR] (his ticket with address at 10 St. Martin's on verso of front free endpaper), covers with frame of bead and flower roll within thick and thin gilt rules, daisy cornerpieces, scalloped central panel with delicate gilt rule frame inset with garlands at sides and corners, flat spine lavishly gilt in compartments with oval centerpiece surrounded by small circles and many gilt dots, decorative gilt roll to turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Vague hints of soiling to covers, endpapers with minor smudges and faint browning, occasional light spots of foxing, leaves a shade less than bright, otherwise an excellent copy internally, the text clean and fresh, and THE LOVELY BINDING IN VERY FINE CONDITION, with bright morocco and gilt, and with virtually no wear.
This is a volume of poems describing the scenery and incidents characteristic of Needwood forest during each season of the year, offered here in a wonderfully delicate binding. Born in Germany, Charles Hering (1762/3-1815) was the most distinguished and influential English binder of the first decade of the 19th century, and although his career was brief (from about 1795-1815), Ramsden focuses on his work as representing the transition in binding styles from those of the German émigrés of the late 18th century to the new generation of binders headed by Lewis. Dibdin states that until "the star of Charles Lewis rose above the bibliopegistic horizon, no one could presume to 'measure business' with [Hering]. There was a strength, squareness, and a good style of work about his volumes which rendered him deservedly a great favourite." After the death of Roger Payne, Hering became the favorite binder of George John, 2nd Earl Spencer, owner of the greatest library in Europe and one of the greatest British book collectors of all time. (The Hering family workshop was continued, though with less distinction, by Hering's brother Joseph and his sons Charles Jr., James, and Henry into the 1830s.) First published in 1794, "Walks in a Forest" was quite popular, with nine editions issued through 1814. Thomas Gisborne (1758-1846) was a poet, naturalist, and preacher who spent most of his adult life as curate of the church in the rural village of Barton-under-Needwood, where he authored a number of books with an obvious moral thrust. This is not an uncommon work, but it is seldom found in a binding so handsome or well preserved. (ST12342)