(Cambridge: Rampant Lions Press, 1941). 280 x 190 mm. (11 x 7 1/2"). 19,  pp. (with additional blank leaves added as filler). No. 69 OF 150 COPIES.
Attractive dark brown goatskin by Alan Winstanley (stamp-signed on rear turn-in and dated 1979), each cover with large inlaid orange morocco circle containing a gold dot, below this 10 smaller inlaid teal morocco circles connected with thick horizontal gilt rules, multiple thin rules in gilt and blind extending from front to rear board over smooth spine, gilt lettering on spine. In original blue marbled paper slipcase with matching goatskin spine and lip ruled in gilt and blind, gilt lettering on spine. Printed in red and black. Rear pastedown with bookplate of Lord Wardington; laid-in copy of the official judge's scorecard for the Designer Bookbinders' competition of 1979, with handwritten note by Lord Wardington. In mint condition.
On a pleasing private press edition of a beloved book of wisdom, this is a Designer Bookbinders competition binding by respected British craftsman Alan Winstanley, from the collection of (and with the rather salty endorsement of) a leading bibliophile. Winstanley studied bookbinding at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London, then in Luton and St. Albans, before serving as apprentice to Sydney Cockerell. In 1959, he moved to Salisbury to take over the binding workshop of Henry Bailey. The Salisbury Bindery flourished for 41 years, until Winstanley's retirement in 2000. For the 1979 Designer Bookbinders competition, Winstanley chose the Rampant Lions Press printing of the Book of Ecclesiastes, with text from the King James Version. Founded by Will Carter (1912-2001) in 1924, when he was still a schoolboy, the Rampant Lions Press issued its first book in 1936, and was one of the longest-lived British fine presses, producing highly regarded letterpress works until 2008, when Carter's son and successor Sebastian (b. 1941) retired. The text comprises just 10 leaves, so Winstanley added blanks before and after it to make the book more substantial. This decision was criticized by the competition judges, who scored the Choice of Book "poor" on the scorecard laid in here, commenting, "If a thin book cannot be bound without so much packing then a thicker volume would make a better choice." Winstanley was vindicated, however, by one of the world's leading collectors, Christopher Henry Beaumont "Bic" Pease, Lord Wardington (1924-2005), who purchased the book for his renowned collection, and responded to the critique by writing at the foot of the scorecard, "Balls! It's lovely. W." According to his obituary in "The Independent," Lord Wardington's "patronage, for over 40 years, of contemporary British bookbinders is reflected by his commissioning of more than 150 bindings from over 50 binders, mostly on modern bible texts and atlases for the Wardington library, and his constant and continual support has made a significant contribution towards keeping the tradition of fine craft binding alive." He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Designer Bookbinders, and was a member of the Roxburghe Club, an Honorary Foreign Corresponding Member of the Grolier Club, and the Chairman of the Friends of the British Library. (ST15998)
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PJP Catalog: ABAAvfMay20.017