(London: Nonesuch Press, 1936). 318 x 203 mm. (12 1/2 x 8"). xi, [i], 80 pp. No. 663 OF 750 COPIES.
Original green buckram, flat spine with black morocco label. Later sturdy marbled paper slipcase. With engraved portrait of Meynell by Eric Gill, three pages of printer's devices, six photogravure plates of bindings, 52 pages reproducing illustrative text and title pages, and 45 inserts of reprinted leaves mounted on dark gray paper, 25 of these bifolia. Front pastedown with bookplate reading "From the Library of the / Curwen Press / London." Dreyfus 106. Spine sunned (as always with this book), one sample a bit creased, otherwise very fine.
This bibliography covers the first 100 books and the first 10 years of the Nonesuch Press, which was founded in 1923 by Vera Mendel, David Garnett, and Francis Meynell, with the last being in charge of book production. The Press produced a substantial corpus of fine printing, although the books were not produced exclusively to be collectible objects. As the "Prospectus of the Nonesuch Editions" says, "The Book Public may be divided into three parts. The Libraries cater for the section of it which reads books without wishing to possess them. A number of 'toy' presses cater for collectors who do not read. The Nonesuch Press was founded in the interest of those among the book collectors who also use books for reading." Despite the fact that those who ran the Nonesuch Press (Meynell chief among them) did not take themselves too seriously, the press had a major influence on the history of the private press in England, especially between the wars. The present copy has a significant association, having been part of the library at the Curwen Press. Founded (under a different name) in 1863, the Curwen Press became an important player in the world of private printing in 1914, when Harold Curwen (1885-1949), the grandson of the original founder, took control. In 1921, Oliver Simon (1895-1956) joined the firm, and he was instrumental in upgrading the quality of book production, in part by commissioning typefaces, illustrations, and decorations from, among others, Jan Van Krimpen, Rudolf Koch, Edward Bawden, Paul Nash, and Graham Sutherland (Lovat Fraser was already working for the press when Simon came in). Glaister says that "The brilliantly successful association of Curwen and Simon led to a steady flow of fine books as well as jobbing printing of outstanding quality." (ST12683-020)
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PJP Catalog: FinePress.037