(London: B. T. Batsford, 1880). 360 x 235 mm. (14 x 9 1/4").  leaves. FIRST EDITION.
SUPERB MAROON CRUSHED MOROCCO DECORATED IN ARTS & CRAFTS STYLE IN GILT AND BLIND BY ALEX J. VAUGHAN (stamp-signed "A. J. V. 1911" in blind at foot of spine and "A. J. Vaughan 1911" in gilt on rear turn-in), covers with blind-tooled acanthus leaf frame enclosed by gilt and blind rules, upper cover with central panel semé with three-dot clusters, gilt lettering at head and foot of panel; raised bands, gilt-ruled spine compartments with blind-tooled acanthus leaves, gilt titling, turn-ins ruled in gilt and blind, with blind-stamped quatrefoils at corners, white paper pastedowns semé with gilt floral tools, all edges gilt. In a (slightly worn) green linen-trimmed slipcase lined with fleece. WITH THE ORIGINAL PENCIL-DRAWN BINDING DESIGN LAID IN AT FRONT. With illustrated title page and 29 plates printed in black, green, brown, sanguine, or blue, illustrating various styles of ornament. One corner slightly bumped, perhaps a hint of rubbing to ends of spine, text leaves with mild toning and occasional hint of foxing, otherwise a fine copy internally, and THE REMARKABLY ATTRACTIVE BINDING IN ESPECIALLY PLEASING CONDITION.
Housing a master craftsman's tract on the principles of design and ornamentation, this is an extraordinarily fine and beautifully crafted binding by someone whose considerable importance in the bibliopegic world is underestimated because he signed very few bindings of his own. Alex J. Vaughan studied at the Camberwell School of Art, where George Sutcliffe was one of his instructors, before serving in the First World War. After leaving the army in 1918, he went to work for Sangorski & Sutcliffe as a gold finisher and designer. According to the late director of that bindery, Stanley Bray, "Over the years [Vaughan] was at S & S he designed many of the semi-extra bindings, and was very useful going out and interviewing clients. He remained with S & S until the great slump of 1930, and left about 1933." Vaughan himself became an instructor at Camberwell, served as an examiner for the City & Guilds Bookbinding examinations, and wrote a still-valued practical guide to the craft, "Modern Bookbinding: a Treatise Covering Both Letterpress and Stationery Branches of the Trade, with a Section on Finishing and Design." DNB tells us that Lewis Day (1845-1910) "belonged to the same school of artist-craftsmen as William Morris and Walter Crane, and his influence on contemporary ornament, if not so fully recognized as that of those two artists, was considerable. An important educator in design, many of the best-known designers of his day were taught by him and benefited from his belief in natural forms of ornament and high standards of craftsmanship." As Vaughan almost certainly used Day's work to inform his design process, there is an unusual artistic symbiosis between book and binding here. It is remarkable that Vaughan was just in his late teens or early twenties when he created this binding, which reflects the work of a mature hand, at a time when he was first beginning to make a name for himself in the trade. (ST14884)
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PJP Catalog: 73.202