Elegantly Bound by a Quietly Sophisticated Boston Bindery, With Extra-Illustrations, Including one of Raleigh's Muddy Cape


(Boston: Printed for the Author for private distribution, 1862). 235 x 175 mm. (9 3/8 x 6 7/8"). 35, [1] pp.

HANDSOME BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO BY THE ROSE BINDERY OF BOSTON (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), covers with wide frame of multiple gilt fillets, curling leaf tools, and daisy tools, raised bands, spine gilt in triple-ruled compartments with two leaf tools at center, turn-ins framed by gilt rules and daisy tools, light brown moiré silk doublures and endleaves, top edge gilt. Original wrappers bound in. EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH 25 PLATES, including steel engravings, copperplates, etchings, a mezzotint, and a woodcut, all depicting people and events from the text. Front flyleaf with morocco bookplate of Frank Deering; original front wrapper with ink presentation inscription: "Mr. Wm. B. Trask / with the regards of / the Author." Text leaves with light, even toning, occasional faint offsetting from plates or tissue guards, one plate with mild foxing, otherwise a lovely copy, the text and plates clean and fresh, and THE HANDSOME BINDING LUSTROUS AND UNWORN.

This short overview of the life of the Elizabethan courtier and explorer is most attractively bound and extra-illustrated with portraits of Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth, Francis Drake, and other members of the court, as well as friends and rivals of the book's subject, along with a view of the Tower of London where he was imprisoned, the battle with the Spanish Armada, and the famous scene in which Raleigh gallantly placed his cloak over a puddle for the queen to cross. The text is an anomaly in the writings of antiquarian and genealogist Samuel Drake (1798-1875), who wrote primarily about early New England, including several accounts of Indian captivities. Drake presented this copy, in its original wrapper, to his fellow editor at the "New-England Historical & Genealogical Register and Antiquarian Journal," William Trask. The book was later extra-illustrated and elegantly bound for distinguished Maine collector Frank Deering (1866-1939) by the Rose Bindery in Boston, a firm that catered to bibliophiles.

Around the turn of the 20th century, Boston was home to a number of hand binderies, formed as part of the American embrace of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Hoping to stand out from the competition, the Rose Bindery did not advertise, but published a small booklet outlining the services they offered for "the owners of libraries but more especially of rare volumes, first editions, unique books that require new bindings or where the present binding should be repaired so as to preserve or restore its original character and beauty." The booklet also explained the bindery's creative approach: "It has been truly said that a great deal more thought should be put into what is left out of the design than to what is put into it; dignity and character should always be uppermost in the mind of the designer." Our binding embodies this philosophy, with restrained and elegant tooling, with an unusual curling leaf tool thoughtfully deployed.

Deering was head of a lumber company and also served in his state's legislature. History was his main area of interest, and his library contained an impressive collection of early Americana. According to his obituary in the journal of the American Antiquarian Society, "One of the prominent features of his library was the almost complete collection which he gathered of Indian narratives and captivities, in which field his collection was un-rivalled in the country." It seems likely he knew of Samuel Drake due to their shared interest in this topic. The special treatment he commissioned for this book adds greatly to its allure, as does the pristine condition of the binding.

Price: $3,900.00