(Oxford: Daniel Press, 1903). 257 x 190 mm. (10 1/8 x 7 1/2"). 2 p.l., 23,  pp. ONE OF 300 COPIES.
LOVELY CONTEMPORARY OLIVE GREEN MOROCCO, upper cover gilt in an Arts & Crafts design of repeating rows of trellised roses, gilt title banner, smooth spine with a runner of five gilt roses, gilt-ruled turn-ins, HAND-PAINTED ENDPAPERS with stylized, attenuated fruit trees and small heart-shaped branch wreaths bearing golden apples. Original blue printed paper wrappers bound in. Printer's device on leaf facing opening of text. One folding leaf of manuscript facsimile printed in collotype at the Clarendon Press. Rear pastedown with the bookseller's ticket of W. & G. Foyle. Madan 54. Minor offsetting to endleaves from binder's glue (as usual), other trivial imperfections, but A FINE COPY, clean and fresh internally, with generous margins, and in a virtually unworn, lustrous binding.
This is an intriguing item in every way: it is "a noteworthy experiment in versification" (Madan) by a future poet laureate; it is printed by a pioneering private press; and it is in a binding with unique features. Described by Day as a "poet's poet" who was "one of the most important experimenters and students of English prosody," Robert Bridges (1844-1930) was inspired by his friend William Stone to attempt to write verse in the quantitative hexameters employed by Classical poets such as Virgil, where scansion is determined by the number of long and short syllables rather than by the stresses on syllables (accentual scansion) generally used in English verse. The poem takes the form of an epistle to Bridges' friend "L. M." [hymn writer Lionel Muirhead], extolling the virtues of studying science--an uncommon subject for a poem, perhaps, but one that allowed Bridges, who read Classics at Oxford before attending medical school, to combine two passions. The Reverend Charles Henry O. Daniel (1836-1919) is called by Cave "by far the most important of all [the] . . . Victorian printers for pleasure." With the help of his wife and two daughters, Daniel produced 60-odd pieces, mostly during the last quarter of the 19th century. This corpus of works was responsible for a renewed interest in the Fell types, which had been bequeathed to the Oxford University Press, after having been ignored for many years, and then taken up by Daniel for continuing use at his press. Daniel was a friend of Bridges, and published several of volumes of his poetry. Our binding is a pleasing marriage of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau design elements, with gilding in the style of the former, and with very unusual hand-painted endpapers in the curving, attenuated lines characteristic of the latter. The painting is similar in style to that on bindings produced by the Royal School of Art Needlework, and was perhaps executed by someone--likely a woman--who studied there. (ST15405)
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PJP Catalog: NY20BF.052