(London: Privately printed [by the Chiswick Press] for Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edmund D. Brooks & Their Friends, 1914). 220 x 155 mm. (8 3/4 x 6"). 19 pp.,  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
Original linen-backed cream-colored boards, black lettering on upper cover and flat spine, ENTIRELY UNOPENED. In the (slightly frayed and chipped) original plain dust jacket. WITH 10 PHOTOGRAVURES OF LONDON mounted on leaves. Minor offsetting to free endpapers from binder's glue, otherwise A PRISTINE COPY in an excellent dust jacket.
This is an under-appreciated combination of fine letterpress printing and striking photogravure prints by one of the most celebrated masters of the craft. The essay by G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), one of the era's largest (literally and figuratively) figures in literature, describes London around the framework of the underground stations. It is a meditation on how an outsider might view these stops and the locales around them. The atmospheric quality of the writing matches perfectly with the photogravures of Coburn, which are simultaneously modern and nostalgic, letting us into his vision of London as though through a mist. Coburn (1882-1966) was a noted photographer in his time. After studying at the London County Council School of Photo-Engraving, he became a book illustrator and portrait photographer. For many of his works, he personally created the photogravure plates and closely oversaw the printing. The photogravures in this book are small (measuring three by five inches), inviting us to look closely, drawing the viewer into their misty depths. While not nearly as well known as Coburn's first book on London (1909), this is nevertheless an important work in the history of photogravure, and a testament to its lasting beauty and its merit as an artistic medium worthy of our attention. Our copy is unopened and with the dust jacket, a rarity for this scarce imprint. (ST14427)
Add to Cart Price: $2,500.00
PJP Catalog: 76.225