(London: George G. Harrap and Co., 1936). 283 x 213 mm. (11 1/8 x 8 3/8"). 312,  pp.Translated by Sir Robert L'Estrange. No. 5 OF EIGHT COPIES ON VELLUM, SIGNED BY THE ARTIST (and 525 copies on paper).
Very fine publisher's special binding of russet crushed morocco designed by the artist and executed by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers gilt with strapwork frame featuring grape clusters in the corners and a prancing fox in the center, raised bands flanked by gilt rules, spine panels with a central gilt grape cluster, gilt titling, gilt-ruled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt on the rough. In an excellent brown textured cloth box with matching slipcase. With 201 charming historiated initials, all hand-colored by a former owner, and 12 FINE ENGRAVED ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEPHEN GOODEN (including the engraved title page), four of these also partially hand-colored. Campbell Dodgson, pp. 104-15. Leather with minor naturally occurring variations in color, one plate with very faint dampstain, a handful of tiny marginal smudges of stray coloring, otherwise an extremely pleasing copy, the vellum particularly smooth and bright, and the special binding lustrous and unworn.
This is the rare luxury version of Stephen Gooden's "magnum opus," one of the best illustrated versions of Aesop ever printed, and one of the finest illustrated books of the 20th century. It includes L'Estrange's preface to the whole collection, his reflections on each fable reprinted here, and "The Life of Aesop." According to DNB, Gooden (1892–1955) was an engraver who "worked chiefly as a book illustrator—a field that fascinated him from childhood—beginning in 1923 with the Nonesuch Press 'Anacreon.' He contributed to 20 works, notably the Bible (Nonesuch, five volumes, 1925–27), 'The Fables of Jean de la Fontaine' (2 volumes, Heinemann, 1931), and the present work. Also, Gooden designed and engraved more than 40 bookplates, including those for Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, and Princess Margaret, as well as four for the Royal Library, Windsor Castle." Gooden's engravings have a very strong appeal no matter the surface on which they appear, but they are particularly satisfying on the lustrous, buttery vellum of this special edition. While paper copies of this work appear on the market with some regularity, ABPC and Rare Book Hub find just two vellum copies at auction in the past 40 years. (ST12683-045)
Add to Cart Price: $22,500.00
PJP Catalog: NY20BF.089