(London: Vale Press, 1900). 233 x 150 mm. (9 1/4 x 6"). cxxv, [i] pp.,  leaf. ONE OF 320 COPIES on paper (another 10 were issued on vellum).
LOVELY CERULEAN BLUE CRUSHED MOROCCO BY OTTO SCHULZE & CO. OF EDINBURGH (stamp-signed on front turn-in) covers with border of plain and decorative gilt rules, central panels with double gilt-rule frame entwined with numerous inlaid red morocco roses; raised bands, spine panels and very broad turn-ins similarly decorated, the binding, in all, WITH A TOTAL OF 351 INLAID RED MOROCCO ROSES, top edge gilt. With printer's device on final leaf facing colophon, two large foliated woodcut initials, and full leafy border on first page, all designed by C. S. Ricketts and engraved by C. E. Keates. Tomkinson, p. 167. A SPLENDID COPY IN A SPARKLING BINDING.
This is a handsomely produced book from a significant private press, the text of great interest to the 19th century, and the binding both beautiful and historically significant. The Vale Press books, which Cave says were "far truer to the spirit of fifteenth-century printing than Kelmscott work," included nearly 50 titles issued during the eight-year life of the press, and both its impressive output and considerable artistic success can be attributed to the fact that Ricketts, who was remarkably skilled as a designer, painter, and illustrator, was in control of every facet of the operation. DNB tells us that Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) entered London's City and Guilds Art School in 1882, where he was apprenticed to the prominent wood-engraver Charles Roberts and where he met painter and lithographer Charles Haslewood Shannon (1863-1937), who became his lifelong partner. With the financial support of barrister Llewellyn Hacon and a £500 inheritance from Ricketts' grandfather, the partners set up the Vale Press in 1894. Cave notes that Vale Press books "were individually designed, with much closer attention given to each of the volumes in a style that accorded with the needs of the individual texts being printed." This beautifully bound and printed volume contains Tennyson's famed elegaic poem, a tribute to his college friend, Arthur Henry Hallam (1811-33), son of the famous historian Henry Hallam (1777-1859). Written in rhyming quatrains, the poem moves from grief and doubt to certainty that the universe is purposeful. It was a sensational best-seller, striking a deep note of resonance with Victorian readers and the queen herself, who told the poet that "Next to the Bible, 'In Memoriam' is my comfort." Operating during the first 10 or 15 years of the 20th century, Otto Schulze was an Edinburgh publisher whose books sometimes appeared in bindings said to have been done by him. As in the case of other publishers and booksellers, such bindings often were done for, rather than by, the party whose name is stamp-signed on the volume. Whatever the case, bindings signed by Schulze are consistently beautiful--ours has a striking feminine beauty that recalls 18th century French decoration--and are uncommon: since 1975, ABPC has listed just six such bindings, two of them described as "elaborate" or "extra." (ST17129-014)
Add to Cart Price: $5,500.00
PJP Catalog: 79.108