Shakespeare Finely Illustrated and Bound by a Gifted Contemporary Binder in the Style of Cobden-Sanderson


(London: Duckworth & Co., 1915). 252 x 180 mm. (10 x 7 1/8"). xiv, [2], 239, [1] pp.

FINE NEW DARK GREEN MOROCCO, VERY ELABORATELY GILT, BY ANDREW SIMS (signed and dated 2020 on front turn-in), the binding TOOLED IN A STYLE INSPIRED BY T. J. COBDEN-SANDERSON, covers with gilt-rule frame, stippled cornerpieces sprouting leaves and three blooms, central spray of leaves and flowers dusted with tiny stars and dots, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with floral spray, gilt titling, gilt-ruled turn-ins, publisher's illustrated endpapers, all edges gilt. In the binder's green cloth clamshell box with paper label on back. Title page with engraved decorative frame printed in sea green, two pictorial section titles, historiated initials, numerous small vignettes in the text, all printed in sea green, and 12 COLOR PLATES tipped in, each with lettered tissue guard, all designs BY CHARLES ROBINSON. Houfe, pp. 435-36. ◆A BEAUTIFUL COPY, the binding new and the text with virtually no signs of use.

In a binding evocative of the Arts & Crafts Movement, this is a lavishly illustrated edition of the songs from Shakespeare's plays, accompanied by the Bard's beloved sonnets. Each poem is embellished by illustrator Charles Robinson with an historiated initial and a small vignette or other ornament in the margin, and 12 of the works have been interpreted in a color plate, including one that imagines the mysterious Dark Lady to whom numerous sonnets were addressed. A leading illustrator of the Edwardian era, Robinson (1870-1937) set out to study art at the Highbury School, but financial pressures forced him to abandon his studies and take an apprenticeship with Waterlow & Sons as a lithographer. The opportunity to design for Robert Louis Stevenson's "A Child's Garden of Verses" in 1895 gave him the career break he needed, and he went on to illustrate dozens of works. Houfe tells us that "his style was very decorative" with "flowing and imaginative scenes" influenced by Dürer, the Pre-Raphaelites, and Japanese prints, further noting that "his colouring and fantasy are often highly original, perhaps based on his lack of formal training." Our obviously talented binder, Andrew Sims, trained with revered teacher Maureen Duke and with the highly respected restorer and period binder Trevor Lloyd. He opened his bookbinding studio in Wales in 2010, where he restores bindings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries and, when time permits, creates his own bindings inspired by the earlier periods. Our binding is an homage to one of the greatest of English bookbinders, Thomas James Cobden-Sanderson (1840-1922), whom Nixon calls "the pre-eminent figure in the more recent history of English bookbinding, both as a designer of great originality, who rescued the craft from half a century of purely imitative work, and as a craftsman of outstanding ability."

Price: $2,750.00