(London: Chatto & Windus, 1899). 187 x 120 mm. (7 1/2 x 4 3/4"). ix, [1] (blank), 338, [2] pp. A New Edition.

VERY PRETTY DARK BROWN MOROCCO, GILT IN AN ARTS & CRAFTS DESIGN, FOR BUMPUS (stamp-signed on front turn-in) BY RIVIERE & SON, front cover with frame of graceful long-stemmed tulips enclosing a field with 11 rows of five gilt dots, raised bands accented with five gilt dots, spine panels with spray of three tulips, anular dots between the blooms, gilt titling, turn-ins framed by multiple gilt rules, corners with three tulips and double rows of dots, all edges gilt, with delicate scalloped gauffering. In a later brown cloth slipcase. Front pastedown with bookplate of Gwendolen Bourke engraved by C. W. Sherborn. Spine evenly sunned to hazel brown, one corner lightly bumped, occasional minor foxing, but A FINE COPY, clean, fresh, and bright, in a gleaming binding with few signs of wear.

Handsomely bound in the innovative Art & Crafts style for Oxford Street booksellers John and Edward Bumpus, this is a new printing of the Swinburne poems first issued in 1866 and described by DNB as "a dazzling collection . . . learned and cosmopolitan in outlook . . . [that] established Swinburne as not only the leading new poet of the day but an international icon for progressive thinkers." DNB notes that Victorian society was shocked by poems that "espoused republicanism, fulminated against priests and kings, rejected the theology and consolations of Christianity, and celebrated decadent romantic and sexual feelings," but the works found a more enthusiastic audience among fans of the Aesthetic Movement in the late 19th century. Swinburne (1837-1909) was considered a leading light of that school, along with Oscar Wilde and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Our former owner, Gwendolen Bourke (1870-1967), had direct links with this group: together with her husband Algernon, she was immortalized--if gently caricatured--in Wilde's greatest play, "The Importance of Being Earnest." Founded in 1838, the Bumpus firm long enjoyed a reputation as purveyors of fine and beautiful bindings without ever operating a bindery. Instead, they outsourced the work to the best binders of the day, including Morrell, Sangorski & Sutcliffe, and Riviere & Son. Based on the design and the tools employed, our binding can be attributed to Riviere. The frame of undulating tulips is modern and fresh, quite unlike traditional English bindings.

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PJP Catalog: NY21BF.020