(Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1933). 261 x 185 mm. (10 1/4 x 7 1/4"). 2 p.l., iv, 163 pp.Translation by J. Amyot, edited and corrected by Pierre-Louis Courier. ONE OF 250 PAPER COPIES for sale, of a total of 290 (and 20 on vellum).
In the original peacock green paper boards with vellum spine and tips, circular gold stamping on front cover by Gwendolen Raverat. In the (slightly worn) original patterned paper slipcase. With initials and paragraph marks in blue added by hand by Graily Hewitt and 29 charming woodcuts by Gwen Raverat, four of them full-page. Front pastedown with bookplate of Mary Priscilla Smith. Marginal notes printed in red. Hornby 39; Franklin, pp. 173-87, 242-43. Tiny white mark to front board (from contact with slipcase?), one corner lightly bumped, a faint hint of rubbing to extremities, but A FINE COPY, quite clean, fresh, and bright inside and out.
Amidst a corpus of often grand Ashendene Press books known for their typographic achievement, this penultimate publication of the press is the only one to be fully illustrated. (With characteristic restraint, Franklin calls the woodcuts "worthwhile.") For the text, Hornby used the quaint French translation by Aymot of the pastoral novel of awakening love written in Greek in the second or third century. The illustrations he commissioned from Gwendolen Raverat (1885-1957) who, according to Horne, "played an important role in the revival of wood engraving in England." The granddaughter of Charles Darwin, Raverat studied painting at the Slade, but taught herself wood-engraving. DNB observes, "Everything that Gwen Raverat undertook was done with intelligence and skill . . . but it was through wood-engraving that she was able to communicate her vision most fully. In her engraving she did not aim at decoration or use a strong decorative line, like her friend Eric Gill; nor was she a naturalist interested in the rendering of a bird's plumage or an animal's fur, like Thomas Bewick. Rather, she was a master of light, shade, and the interplay of textures, with a deceptively simple technique, and a bold sense of design."
Founded by Charles Harry St John Hornby (1867-1946), the Ashendene Press issued 40 books, plus additional ephemeral pieces, from 1895-1935. Less elaborate in appearance and design than William Morris' Kelmscott volumes, but more ornamental than the products of Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Press, the Ashendene books have long been considered the most satisfying of English private press books. (ST17033)