(Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1867). 184 x 121 mm. (7 1/4 x 4 3/4"). Two volumes. First Edition in English.
ATTRACTIVE ARTS & CRAFTS-STYLE DARK GREEN MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, each cover with 40 gilt lotus flowers (in five vertical rows of eight), the flowers all flanked by a gilt dot in each of the four corners, raised bands, spine panels with similar floral decoration, gilt titling and turn-ins, all edges gilt. Green spines inevitably sunned to an olive brown, joints and corners a little rubbed, very isolated minor foxing, but a fine copy--clean and fresh internally, the appealing binding lustrous and without significant wear.
This bildungsroman by one of the most widely read authors in 19th century Denmark is offered here in a binding associated with one of the most influential binders of the 20th century. Originally issued in Danish in 1861, this first work by Herman Frederik Ewald (1821-1908) is the story of a rather vain young poet, Waldemar Krone, his rejection of the good provincial girl who loves him, and his ill-fated infatuation with a flighty countess. When the countess throws him over for a French marquis, Krone comes to recognize the worth of Ida, who still loves him. They are happily married, while the unfortunate countess discovers her husband is a fraud before she dies in childbirth. While this and the two works that followed had contemporaneous settings, Ewald later became known for his meticulously researched historical novels. "Waldemar" is a surprisingly uncommon work: OCLC locates just six copies, three in the United States. The binding appears to have been executed by an amateur who was almost certainly a pupil of Douglas Cockerell, as a pencilled note on the front flyleaf of volume I asserts. The stamped titling on the spines is too uneven to have been Cockerell's own work, though the intricate floral tooling on the boards is well done; in any case, the lotus flower stamp used on these covers is identical with the tool used for item #282 in Maggs Catalogue 1212, a book bound by Cockerell ca. 1902, and with that used in figures 104-107 in Cockerell's own "Bookbinding, and the Care of Books." The design is quite similar to figure 104 in that work, one in which Cockerell demonstrates how tools can be combined and repeated to create a pattern. Cockerell (1870-1945) was generally considered to be the leading and most respected binder of his day, and through his work, his teaching, and his publications, he probably exerted "more influence on bookbinding practice and design than any one man has had before." (DNB) An apprentice for Cobden-Sanderson when the latter began his Doves Bindery in 1894, Cockerell set up his own workshop in 1897. During these early years, he was appointed teacher of bookbinding at the London County Council Central School of Arts & Crafts, where he taught Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe. (ST15808)