(London: Seeley and Co., 1891). 382 x 275 mm. (15 x 10 3/4"). 4 p.l., 111,  pp. No. 85 OF 160 COPIES ON LARGE PAPER.
Publisher's gilt-stamped vellum, upper cover with titling and the Tennyson coat of arms, BOTH COVERS WITH LOVELY HAND-PAINTED DESIGN BY JOHN T. BEER, upper cover with urn at foot and blooming rose branches emanating from a medallion bearing the date 1902 and curving around the title and escutcheon, lower cover with branches of apple blossoms dividing the board into quadrants, each inhabited by a bird in flight, smooth spine with gilt titling, edges untrimmed. With frontispiece photographic portrait of Tennyson, 31 vignettes in the text, and 14 copper-plate engravings after drawings by Edward Hull. Verso of title page and limitations page with ink stamp of Gloucester County Library. Weber, "The Fore-Edge Paintings of John T. Beer" 195. Small scratch near head of front joint, minor soiling and rubbing to edges of boards, a little dust soiling to untrimmed edges, mild foxing (mostly marginal, and not affecting copper engravings), otherwise an excellent copy, clean and fresh internally with wide margins, the binding sturdy and bright, the pretty decoration perfectly preserved.
This deluxe illustrated work describing the places associated with England's beloved Poet Laureate, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, is enhanced by former owner John T. Beer's Arts & Crafts-style embellishments to the vellum binding. After retiring from a successful career as a clothier, Merseyside book collector John T. Beer (ca. 1826-1903) occupied himself in retirement by decorating books from his library, mostly with fore-edge paintings, but in a score of instances with painted bindings. Jeff Weber considers Beer "one of the most highly skilled artists of fore-edge paintings," noting that he was the first artist to put his signature to such works. Weber's catalogue raisonnée of Beer's works lists 189 fore-edge paintings, 22 painted bindings, and three bindings designed by Beer and executed by Fazakerley of Liverpool. The design here is clearly influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement, and Beer owned several works by William Morris, including a Kelmscott Press "Godefrey of Bologne," on the vellum covers of which he had painted a design of tulips and lilies. Among the locations discussed and pictured in the "The Laureate's Country" are Tennyson's childhood homes in Somersby and Bag Enderby, Trinity College, Cambridge, where he matriculated, and his estates Farringford on the Isle of Wight and Aldworth in West Sussex. (ST15049)
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PJP Catalog: RBMS19.017