(London: [Printed at the Chiswick Press for] George Bell & Sons, 1901). 208 x 132 mm. (8 1/8 x 5 1/4"). xxv, , 338 pp.,  leaf. Introduction by Walter Raleigh.
EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY DARK GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO, LAVISHLY GILT AND INLAID, covers with outer frame lettered with verses from "Endymion," wide inner frame densely stippled in gilt and tooled with floral vines bearing inlaid red morocco blossoms, the vines emanating from inlaid morocco hearts at each corner, central panel diapered in gilt, raised bands, spine compartments with inlaid and gilt floral spray on a stippled ground (covers and spine with a total of 107 inlays), gilt titling, CRIMSON MOROCCO DOUBLURES tooled with intricately entwined gilt floral vines framed by green morocco, leather hinges, crimson watered silk endleaves, all edges gilt. With illustrations by Robert Anning Bell, including double-page title opening, dedication, and three section titles, numerous vignettes in the text, and 20 full-page plates. Verso of front free endpaper with bookplate of Oswald Lewis, engraved by W. P. Barrett, the tail margin with the handwritten date "1923." Spine uniformly sunned to olive brown (as nearly always with green morocco), a touch of rubbing to extremities, but a fine copy, the text entirely clean, fresh, and bright, and in a lustrous, scarcely worn binding.
Well printed, as one expects with any Chiswick Press product, this collection of the best-known works of one of the three great English Romantic poets is offered here in a binding with animated design and great aesthetic appeal. The text is highlighted with graceful and elaborate illustrations in keeping with the flavor of the poetry and with the creative principles of an era that produced the Kelmscott Press and other artifacts of the Arts & Crafts movement. Illustrator Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933) was also a stained glass artist, and Houfe suggests that his work in that medium may be responsible for his illustrations' two-dimensional quality and resemblance to woodcuts; Houfe also notes the influence of Walter Crane in the "rather long and angular figures without shading contained in decorative borders," as seen here. Like the wood engravings, the unsigned binding is very much a product of the Arts & Crafts Movement. The elaborate frame is in the style characteristic of Riviere or Sangorski & Sutciffe, engaging our attention while the frame promises, "I will tell thee stories of the sky, and breathe thee whispers of its minstrelsy." Inside the cover, the gentle green garden of the cover gives way to the boldness of the bright red doublure, with its vigorous gilt blooms. The passion of the poems is reflected in the energy of the binding, which is likely the work of a bookbinding student at one of London’s schools of handicrafts or an apprentice at one of the great binderies. Former owner Oswald Lewis (1887-1966), son of the founder of John Lewis department stores, was a barrister, bibliophile, and Conservative MP. (ST15720)
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PJP Catalog: BOS21BF.005