(Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1927-28). 432 x 305 mm. (17 x 12"). Two volumes. The text in the 1620 English translation of Thomas Shelton. ONE OF 225 COPIES on paper (and 20 on vellum).
FINE ORIGINAL DARK GREEN MOROCCO BY W. H. SMITH & SON (stamp-signed on inside rear covers), raised bands, gilt titling on spine. Lovely woodcut initials and borders designed by Louise Powell, cut on wood by W. M. Quick and George H. Ford. Printed in red and black in Ptolemy type. Typed note "With the compliments of C. H. St. J. Hornby, Shelley House, Chelsea S.W.3" laid in at front of volume I. Hornby 36; Franklin, pp. 159 ff., 241-42. One small marginal stain (from the unfortunate demise of a trapped insect), otherwise A SPARKLING COPY, barely changed from the day it left the press.
This is an outstanding copy of a remarkably impressive piece of printing, these two magnificent volumes constituting the longest Ashendene publication and the most expensive one to produce. It is also the first Ashendene book to be printed in the newly designed Ptolemy type, and, as such, it represents a new direction for the press in its final years of activity. In Franklin's eyes, Emery Walker's new typeface, derived from the font used for the 1482 Ptolemy printed in Ulm, was "a much lighter, more elegant letter than the earlier fount," the denser Subiaco. "And with the use of this less dictatorial typeface, the printer could cast away a little of his restraint in planning whatever lay outside it. So in 'Don Quixote' we find at last an alphabet of open and freely drawn decorative initial letters, designed by Louise Powell and shadowing something of Kelmscott Press taste from years before." The Ptolemy face was used just three more times before the Ashendene Press closed. While a book like this would normally be treated as a precious object and consequently be well preserved over time, copies as spectacular as the present one no longer appear regularly in the marketplace. The condition here is certainly tied to the provenance: despite the lack of bookplates or other markings, we know this is the personal copy of Hornby's sister, Gwendoline, a longtime supporter of his endeavors who assisted him with printing in the early days of the press. The volumes had remained with her heirs until 2018, and were obviously always treated as cherished heirlooms. (ST14909)
Add to Cart Price: $12,500.00
PJP Catalog: SE19BF.006