A Popular Arab Romance Put into Verse by a Flagrantly Byronic Figure, and the Husband of Byron's Granddaughter

THE CELEBRATED ROMANCE OF THE STEALING OF THE MARE.

(London: Reeves and Turner, 1892). 178 x 140 mm. (7 x 5 1/2"). xi, 127, [1] pp. Translated from the Arabic by Lady Anne Blunt, and done into verse by W. S. Blunt. FIRST EDITION.

FINE OLIVE BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, BY THE DOVES BINDERY (stamp-signed and dated 1894), raised bands, spine featuring vertical descending titling, with single letters alternating on either side of a meandering vine, the vine supporting many large and small clover leaves, gilt-ruled turn-ins with clover leaf cornerpieces, all edges gilt and with dotted gauffering. For the binding: Tidcombe 65. Spine and edges of boards sunned to honey brown, mild foxing to opening and closing leaves, otherwise in excellent condition, clean and fresh internally in a scarcely worn binding.

This is an attractive early specimen from the Doves Bindery, founded by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson in March of 1893. Cobden-Sanderson (1840-1922) did not produce many bindings with his own hands, but he did nothing short of change the entire course of bookbinding in England. Tidcombe's detailed and exhaustive catalogue lists just 167 examples of bindings produced by him, all of them executed between July of 1884 and March of 1893. Through this small corpus of work, Cobden-Sanderson "rejuvenated English binding" with his theories of design "and set it on a new course of development." (Morgan Library Exhibition catalogue) When his health prevented him from binding with his own hands, he established the Doves Bindery (named for a nearby pub) and hired Charles McLeish from Riviere and Charles Wilkinson from Zaehnsdorf as finishers, Bessie Hooley (also from Riviere) as sewer, and Douglas Cockerell as apprentice. Although at this point he relinquished the handwork, he continued to do all the binding designs himself. The text here--the translation of a popular Arabic romance with a Medieval flavor--is one of two collaborations by an unusual and accomplished couple who embraced the "white draperies of Arabia" as a cleansing remedy for their sick Western souls. The heir to a fortune, Wilfrid Blunt (1840-1922) travelled widely, expended great energy as an opponent of British imperialism, and wrote a good deal of rather uneven poetry, the best of which appears in this volume. DNB says that his sonnets and lyrics "are of permanent value" and that he "had considerable influence upon the younger generation of English poets of his day." He is chiefly known, however, for his almost comically insatiable carnality, impelled, more than anything, by his awkwardness with women in any role except as a lover. As Peterson tells it, Blunt "romped amorously through life, leaving behind him a trail of seduced women, outraged husbands . . . , and numerous illegitimate offspring." Magnetically handsome, he inevitably called to mind Lord Byron, and it was "wonderfully appropriate that in 1869 he married Byron's granddaughter, who mysteriously tolerated her husband's erotic adventures until they at last separated in 1906." Lady Anne (1837-1917) was herself a great heiress and held the title Baroness Wentworth in her own right. The daughter of the brilliant Ada Lovelace, she was an accomplished linguist, a daring traveller, and a respected breeder of Arabian horses.
(ST13113)

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PJP Catalog: CA19BF.010

THE CELEBRATED ROMANCE OF THE STEALING OF THE MARE. BINDINGS - DOVES BINDERY, WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT.
THE CELEBRATED ROMANCE OF THE STEALING OF THE MARE.
THE CELEBRATED ROMANCE OF THE STEALING OF THE MARE.
THE CELEBRATED ROMANCE OF THE STEALING OF THE MARE.