(London: Printed at the Ballantyne Press for Hacon & Ricketts [Vale Press], 1899). 232 x 136 mm. (9 1/4 x 5 1/2"). 35,  pp.Translated by T. S. Moore. ONE OF 150 UNNUMBERED COPIES, printed on handmade paper using the Vale type.
APPEALING HAZEL BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO BY BAYNTUN-RIVIERE (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with gilt-rule border and frame of seven closely-tooled gilt rules, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with double gilt-rule frame, dots at corners, gilt titling, turn-ins densely gilt with orchid-and-palmette roll, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. With five large wood-engravings by T. Sturge Moore, Vale Press device facing colophon. Ricketts, p. xxvii; Franklin, p. 204; Tomkinson, p. 167. Spine and rear board slightly sunned, half a dozen leaves with a little faint marginal foxing, otherwise, a fine copy, quite clean, fresh, and bright internally, in an unworn binding.
This charming volume is the most strictly limited work to be issued by the Vale Press, founded in 1896 by Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon (with additional funding from wealthy barrister Lawrence Hacon) and named for their home in Chelsea. Over the next eight years, Ricketts and Shannon, with the help of their friend Sturge Moore, issued nearly 50 titles, books that Cave says were "far truer to the spirit of fifteenth-century printing than Kelmscott work." Both the impressive output and the considerable artistic success can be attributed to the fact that Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) was in control of every facet of the operation. Tomkinson says that, "although the actual printing was done on the premises of the Ballantyne Press, the Vale books were built entirely on Mr. Ricketts' design under his personal supervision on a press set apart for his sole use; the founts, decorations, illustrations (including the engraving on the wood), watermarks, and pagination were all the work of Mr. Ricketts, and it is doubtful if, in the history of printing, books have been made which reflect the invention and work of one man more explicitly than do the Vale books." The text here comprises the two major works of the French writer Maurice de Guérin (1810-39), in which he imagines the thoughts of figures from classical mythology, one an aging centaur looking back on his life, the other a young Bacchante on the brink of joining the frenzied rites her fellow priestesses performed for the god of wine. Both the translation and the illustrations here are the work of Thomas Sturge Moore (1870-1944), who became friends with Shannon while studying at Croydon Art School, and who assisted with the editing and illustration of a number of Vale Press books. Our fine binding is the work of Bayntun-Riviere of Bath, a firm formed in 1937 by merging two eminent British workshops: the Bayntun firm, founded in Bath in 1894 (and still in operation today), and the Riviere bindery, which had been a respected workshop since its founding by Robert Riviere in 1829. The present binding is restrained in design, but meticulously executed using the finest materials. (ST16315)
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PJP Catalog: BibWk21.048