(Waltham St. Lawrence: Golden Cockerel Press, 1931). 343 x 242 mm. (13 1/2 x 9 1/2"). 1 p.l., 268,  pp.,  leaf (colophon). No. 329 OF 500 COPIES (the first 12 on vellum).
Publisher's half pigskin over wheat-colored buckram by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, raised bands flanked by gilt rules, gilt titling and cockerel device on spine, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. In a modern tan cloth slipcase. ILLUSTRATED THROUGHOUT, with four large woodcuts on section titles and scores of striking large and small woodcut illustrations, decorative elements, and initials BY ERIC GILL. Printed on Batchelor handmade paper. Chanticleer 78; A Century for the Century 26. A little freckling to buckram boards (as usual), corners just slightly bumped, but still A FINE COPY, pristine internally--the text entirely clean, fresh, and bright, and the binding with only negligible imperfections.
This is a remarkably appealing copy of the chief work produced by one of the foremost English private presses. Founded in 1920 with the intention to print fine editions of important well-known books as well as new literary works of merit from young authors, the Golden Cockerel Press was purchased in 1924 by the illustrator and wood-engraver Robert Gibbings. "Under his direction," says Cave, the Press was "transformed into the principal vehicle for the renaissance of wood-engraved book illustration that took place in the years between the wars." In addition to doing wood engravings himself, Gibbings employed a stable of eminent artists including, among others, Eric Gill, John Nash, John Farleigh, David Jones, Eric Ravilious, and Blair Hughes-Stanton. One of Gill's outstanding achievements as an illustrator, and one of the Golden Cockerel Press' great books, the "Four Gospels" has been called by Franklin the finest of all private press books printed between the wars. The success of the work has much to do with Gill's ability to create a harmonious integration of woodcut illustration and typography (his Golden Cockerel typeface, one of the most important ever cut specifically for private use, is introduced here). At the same time that the work achieves an aesthetic balance, it also takes risks with the emotional nature of the woodcuts and with its unjustified page layout. As Franklin observes, "His pictures beautifully explain their letters, as leaves spring from branches. This work is a wonderful extension of typography." Because of the nature of the binding--easily soiled light-colored sides and an easily chafed pigskin spine--this book is extremely difficult to find now in outstanding condition, and a copy like the present one, with only very minor, forgivable blemishes, stands out as especially desirable. (ST15930)
Add to Cart Price: $19,500.00
PJP Catalog: 76.208