(Tölz: Bremer Presse, 1920). 265 x 168 mm (10 1/2 x 6 5/8"). lxxxii, [4] pp. No. 20 OF 270 COPIES.

Elegant stiff vellum with exposed lacing by Frieda Thiersch (stamp-signed on rear pastedown), covers with gilt rules and gilt geometric weave roll with dot details, yapp edges, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with similar weave design, gilt titling, all edges gilt. Original (damaged) slipcase. With initials by Anna Simons. Ink-signed dedication (in Latin and upside-down) on rear endleaf dated 1921. Slight soiling and trivial wear to spine, but a very appealing copy that is internally entirely fresh and clean.

In an elegant gilt binding, and with sweeping capitals by Anna Simons that visually reference the initials of illuminated Medieval manuscripts, this limited printing of Tibullus is sumptuous on the outside and typographically unencumbered and refined internally. The "Elegiae" of Tibullus was the fifth Bremer Press book and the third to be printed in Tölz, where the press made its temporary home from 1919-20. The Press was founded in 1911 by Willy Wiegand (1884-1961) and others, and active until just before World War II. Cave flatly declares that Bremer had an influence that "was probably greater and longer lasting than that of any of the other fine presses." It certainly is universally considered the most successful and influential of the German private presses, and Ransom says that "perhaps no other organization, private or public, has attempted closer coordination and interrelation of scholarship, type design, and book design." Following the typographic lead of Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker, the press "was very much in the grand tradition; a few good, special typefaces were cut and used with magnificent effect in large format editions of Homer, Dante, Tacitus, the Luther Bible, and similar books." (Cave) As with the Doves volumes, ornament (except for initials) was eschewed, and the considerable success enjoyed by Bremer resided elsewhere--with typography both refined and innovative, with the highest quality of materials, and with meticulous presswork. In addition to the typefaces cut by Wiegand for exclusive use at his press, new titles and initials were designed and cut for almost every production. Frieda Thiersch got her start working under the tutelage of Charles McLeish, formerly of the Doves Bindery. Upon completing her apprenticeship, she began working first for Carl Sonntag, but soon thereafter became the premier binder for the Bremer Press. During WWII, she became the binder of choice for the Nazi party and Hitler himself, creating document folders, guest books, photo albums, and so on. It is possible that the present binding, which is stamp-signed with the initials "F. T.," was done by an apprentice under Thiersch's direct supervision (the work she did with her own hands is typically signed with her full name). Our edition of the Roman elegiac poet Tibullus, whose work is seldom printed separately from that of Catullus and Propertius, was taken from an edition printed by Bernard Tauschnitz in 1885.

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PJP Catalog: SE18BF.031