As Beautiful and Fine as Any Binding We've Owned from the Period

THE BOOK CONTAINING THE TREATISES OF HAWKING; HUNTING; COAT-ARMOUR; FISHING; AND BLASING OF ARMS. AS PRINTED AT WESTMINSTER BY WYNKYN DE WORDE . . . MCCCCLXXXXVI. [preceded by] HASLEWOOD, JOSEPH. LITERARY RESEARCHES INTO THE HISTORY OF THE BOOK OF SAINT ALBANS.

(London: Reprinted by Harding and Wright, 1810). 279 x 191 mm. (11 x 7 1/2"). 2 p.l., 104 pp; [182] pp. ONE OF 150 COPIES.

SUPERB CONTEMPORARY BURGUNDY STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, RICHLY TOOLED IN GILT AND IN BLIND, BY CHARLES HERING [SR] (his ticket on verso of front free endpaper), covers with blind-tooled frame of drawer handles and flowers bordered with gilt rules, central panel with gilt filigree cornerpieces and large blind-tooled arabesque centerpiece, raised bands, spine panels elegantly tooled in gilt, with blind-stamped tools at corners, gilt titling, wide inner gilt dentelles, lavender watered silk endleaves with decorative gilt borders, all edges gilt. In an excellent modern red cloth slipcase. With three large woodcuts based on those in the 1496 edition, numerous woodcuts of fishing implements and heraldic shields in the text, and with the printer's device of Wynkyn de Worde and that of William Caxton in the colophon and following the index. Front pastedown with the engraved armorial bookplate of Archibald Philip Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery; half title with neat ink stamp of "Rosebery / Durdans" (see below). For the binding: Judith Marks, "Bookbinding Practices in the Hering Family, 1794-1844," pp. 44-60 in "The British Library Journal" Vol. 6, No. (Spring 1980). The faintest touch of rubbing to front joint, flyleaves a bit browned, second half of work with inoffensive offsetting in text bed, minor offsetting from printers' devices, occasional mild foxing or tiny rust spots, otherwise an excellent, fresh copy internally, and THE GORGEOUS BINDING IN VERY FINE CONDITION, lustrous and virtually unworn.

This is a facsimile of the 1496 printing by Wynkyn de Worde of the first modern edition of the classic work on hunting, hawking, fishing, and heraldry, our copy with distinguished provenance and in a very striking binding--in extraordinarily fine condition--by the best English binder of the day, working at the height of his powers. The "Book of St. Albans" was traditionally attributed to a Benedictine prioress, Dame Juliana Berners (b. 1388), which gave her the distinction of being the earliest known female author in English. However, in his scholarly introduction, Joseph Haslewood (1769-1833) determines that only the work on hunting, and a portion of that on hawking, may comfortably be attributed to her. The other sections on heraldry, angling, and the details of hawking are translations (possibly done by Berners) of earlier works, probably in French. In 1794, German émigré Charles Ernst Christian Hering (1762/3-1815) opened his bookbinding workshop in London at 34 St. Martin Street, near the premises of his fellow immigrants Baumgarten, Kalthoeber, Staggemeier & Welcher, and Walther. He quickly rose to prominence through the virtues cited by Marks: "sharp business acumen, a firm technological knowledge of his craft, and--most important--a talent for design." His business prospered, and he moved to larger premises at 10 St. Martin's Street by 1796; in 1811, he took over the adjoining premises. By 1804, he was employing a considerable staff of three finishers, six forwarders, and two apprentices. Our binding was executed when Hering was at the zenith of his career, both financially and artistically. According to Marks, "As the artistic successor to Roger Payne, the doyen of English bookbinders, Hering catered for the leading bibliophiles of the period," including Earl Spencer, Thomas Grenville, Lord Byron, and our former owner. Archibald Primrose (1847-1929), 5th Earl of Rosebery and 1st Earl of Midlothian, was a Liberal politician who served briefly as Britain's prime minister in 1894-95. A fabulously wealthy man who then married the greatest heiress of the day, Hannah de Rothschild, Rosebery was able to indulge his passions for racehorses and for collecting books. The stamp on the title page indicates this volume resided at Durdans, the house in Epsom where he spent his final years.
(ST12723)