(Edinburgh: Printed for Waugh & Innes, 1823). 182 x 107 mm. (7 1/4 x 4 1/4"). 1 p.l., 210 pp.,  leaf (ads). Sixth Edition.
EXCELLENT CONTEMPORARY EMERALD GREEN STRAIGHT-GRAIN MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, covers framed by plain and decorative rolls in gilt and blind, raised bands, spine panels with intricate gilt floral and other tools, gilt-rolled turn-ins, all edges gilt. WITH AN UNUSUALLY PLEASING FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF ELY CATHEDRAL. Housed in a very fine later fleece-lined black morocco pull-off case by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Recto of front free endpaper with the heavily gilt morocco bookplate of Lucy Smith Battson; verso with neat inked inscription in a 19th century hand: "Ely Cathedral / Cambridge." Rear free endpaper with the ticket of Los Angeles department store J. W. Robinson Co. Inoffensive soiling to covers, light offsetting in the bed of the text, but the binding lustrous and with only trivial wear, and clean and fresh internally--a very pretty book in pleasing condition.
This is an attractive binding highlighted by a colorful and animated fore-edge painting depicting Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire. The painting is finely composed, richly detailed, and skillfully executed. The cathedral is framed by a verdant landscape in the foreground featuring a small herd of stout cows at left, two male figures at center trodding a path toward the cathedral, and a horse-drawn cart with driver and aide travelling the same path away from Ely. Two well-dressed young women at right gaze at the Medieval church, and the tableau is flanked by a copses of trees, the whole beneath a late afternoon deep azure sky with billowing clouds. It is unusual to see so many figures and such activity within a fore-edge tableau, particularly this well defined--the detail in the architecture and especially the trees is particularly impressive. The artist is clearly the so-called "Dover Painter," the name given by Jeff Weber to the artist who produced very high quality painted fore edges in the 1920s and 1930s. He did work for the famous London bookseller Marks & Company, for Dawson's Bookshop in Los Angeles, and for J. W. Robinson Company, the Los Angeles department store. Estelle Doheny (1875-1958), whose library comprised one of the great collections of the 20th century, bought actively from Dawson's, and Weber estimates that approximately half of the very considerable number of especially fine fore-edge paintings in the Doheny collection in Camarillo, California, were done by the Dover Painter. An important book (and art) collector, this book's prior owner, Lucy Smith [Doheny] Battson (1893-1993), was Estelle's daughter-in-law. Written by the lawyer and lay theologian Erskine (1788-1870) at a time of spiritual doubt, these "Remarks" argue the truth of Christianity based on the moral and spiritual needs of mankind. Reflecting a moderate Calvinism, the book was the first of a half dozen works through which our author exerted considerable influence in the world of 19th century British theology. (ST12794)
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PJP Catalog: 67.153