(Oxford: The Holywell Press, 1905). 200 x 141 mm. (8 x 5 3/4"). 6 p.l., 110 pp., [1] leaf.With introduction, notes, and bibliography by Stuart Mason [C. S. Millard]. First Edition in English.

FINE RUSSET MOROCCO BY BERNARD MIDDLETON (blind-stamped with his monogram tool on rear pastedown), covers with blind-tooled trefoil extensions from the raised bands, front cover with gilt lettering at head and foot, raised bands tooled with three gilt dots, one panel with gilt lettering, blind-ruled turn-ins with trefoils at corners, dark green endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. With five black & white plates, two reproducing photographs of Wilde. Recto of front free endpaper with pencilled inscription at foot: "Bound by Middleton--Oct. '00." ◆A couple of trivial marginal smudges, but A VERY FINE COPY, the binding as new.

This is the English version of Gide's sympathetic biographical essay on Wilde, offered in a binding by a modern English master. Gide (1869-1951) met Wilde in Paris in the 1890s, where they frequented the same literary circles. Gide admired the Irish writer's work, as well as his wit and style, and Wilde was an early literary influence on the future Nobel laureate. When the two met while vacationing in Algiers in 1895, Wilde had a more personal impact on Gide's life, furthering Gide's acceptance of his homosexuality. This remembrance first appeared (in French) in the monthly review "L'Ermitage" in 1902.

Bernard Middleton (1924-2019) was for many years perhaps the finest book restorer in the English-speaking world. But in addition to his restoration work (and in addition to his substantial output of publications on binding), he also, in his words, "produced in the region of 100 modern designed bindings." He was a founding member of the Guild of Contemporary Bookbinders as well as president of the Designer Bookbinders. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1986. With typical modesty, Middleton said of his work: "As a book restorer, I am primarily a craftsman who incidentally produces simple designs for the embellishment of occasional fine bindings, rather than a trained designer who binds books for the purpose of giving expression and permanent form to . . . creative ideas. . . . My designs are intended to please the eye, not engage the intellect, principally by the employment of textures, strongly defined shapes and contrasts, and by the play of light on gold, preferably in combination and in a manner which complements the book."

Price: $2,500.00