(London: Methuen & Co. 1904). 375 x 225 mm. (14 3/4 x 8 3/4"). 8 p.l., 612, 16 pp.

MID-20TH CENTURY ALUM-TAWED PIGSKIN, VIGOROUSLY GILT, over bevelled boards BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE, covers decorated in gilt in an overall diapered design with leaf fronds and inlaid mauve rosettes forming lozenge-shaped compartments containing a stylized sheaf of wheat, smooth spine with similar decoration and gilt titling, turn-ins with repeating gilt leaves and pink rosettes, vellum endleaves, all edges gilt. In a green morocco-lipped felt-lined slipcase. Woodcut headpieces, tailpieces, and initials, author's portrait, illustrated title page depicting the Garden of Eden, three small illustrations in text, and 109 fine full-page woodcut illustrations of flowers, vegetables, and fruits almost certainly by Christopher Switzer, showing nearly 800 plants. A photocopy of a photograph of the binding in the Sangorski workshop, with manuscript notations on its creation, laid in at front. Original edition: Henrey 282; Hunt 215; Nissen BBI 1489; Pritzel 6933; STC 19300. Spine slightly and uniformly yellowed, a few leaves with minor crease in bottom right corner, otherwise very fine, with almost no signs of use inside or out.

This is a very attractively bound facsimile of a famous 17th century gardening book, the binding done in 1960 by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, with forwarding by Frank Watson and finishing by Edgar Turner. Turner must have been one of the bindery's best finishers, as he was chosen to tool the binding for the Coronation Bible presented to Queen Elizabeth II by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The pigskin here is beautifully creamy, and the delicate gilt tooling and tiny inlaid rosettes give the impression of fine gold lace over ivory satin. The document laid in here shows Sangorski & Sutcliffe's head of bookbinding Stanley Bray posing with this volume in the bindery in 1970. Bray's handwritten notation, dated 10 December 1979, gives us the date of the binding and the names of the craftsmen who worked on it. Bray was the nephew of George Sutcliffe and had trained with his uncle; it is likely he designed this binding, to be carried out by Watson and Turner.

Keywords: Botanicals, Herbals, Flowers