One of 15 Special Bindings

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(Newtown: Gwasg Gregynog, 2003). 307 x 185 mm. (12 1/8 x 7 1/4"). xvi, [2], 99, [1] pp., [1] leaf (colophon).Edited by the Earl of Powis. No. III OF 15 SPECIALLY BOUND COPIES (of 200 total).

LOVELY MULTI-COLORED CALF AND PURPLE GOATSKIN BY JULIAN THOMAS (signed in pencil in the colophon), the calf dyed various shades of green, blue, purple, pink, and yellow, the pattern suggestive of a landscape with a small house in the foreground, spine and covers with goatskin inlay forming the shape of a cross when completely open, gilt halo radiating from behind the cross, smooth spine with gilt lettering, top edge dyed yellow. Suite of plates in a mustard yellow cloth box, housed together in a matching clamshell box lined with velvet, the box spine with dark purple goatskin label and gilt lettering. Printed in purple and black, with 24 wood-engraved illustrations by Sarah van Niekerk, and WITH AN ADDITIONAL SUITE OF ENGRAVINGS SIGNED AND NUMBERED BY THE ARTIST. With prospectus, two photocopied articles, and correspondence between Julian Thomas and Anthony Dowd loosely laid in. In mint condition.

In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the first book issued by the Gregynog Press in 1923, this limited edition again features the writing of Welsh-born poet George Herbert, in a very pleasing conjunction of fine printing, exquisite woodcut illustration, and sumptuous binding. The religious poetry of orator and theologian George Herbert (1593-1633), featured in the Press' first publication, is here expanded to include excerpts from his prose work, "The County Parson," as well as many amusing proverbs and aphorisms collected by Herbert. These little sayings, originally published as "Outlandish Proverbs" after Herbert's death, are cleverly sprinkled throughout the book in purple ink, adding unexpected dashes of levity. Accompanying the text are a series of excellent woodcut illustrations by Sarah van Niekerk, whose work bears a striking resemblance to that of her mentor and frequent Gregynog collaborator, Gertrude Hermes. Both precise and whimsical, Niekerk's illustrations are an elegant match for the poetry at hand. A highly favorable review in the Society of Wood Engravers Magazine (here loosely laid in) notes that her "technical skill matches Herbert's command of metre and rhyme: craft for each is bent to a divine and not a worldly purpose, baptised to a new and better use and life." Our copy is one of 15 specially bound by Julian Thomas, Head Binder at the National Library of Wales from 1969 until his retirement in 2011, and a Fellow of Designer Bookbinders since 1996. He trained with John Ewart Bowen, who apprenticed at the original Gregynog Press under George Fisher. The binding seems to play off a memorable poem by Herbert called "The Windows," reproduced here on p. 22, in which he compares a preacher to a pane of glass through which God's light may shine. When our binding is open, we may read the central shape as both a cross and a window, with brilliant gilt rays streaming through and amplifying the world around it with joyful color. Founded in 1922 by two spinster sisters, Gwendoline (1882-1951) and Margaret (1884-1963) Davies, the original Gregynog Press produced 42 works between 1923 and 1942. Cave says that the books printed by the Gregynog Press "more than bear comparison with the work of any other private press," and "in the design and execution of bindings, the Gregynog Press was far superior to any, the Doves Press included." It was revived in 1978 by the University of Wales under the name Gwasg Gregynog and continues to produce fine quality work to this day.
(ST15552)

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PJP Catalog: 75.096

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