(London: ca. 1910). 195 x 140 mm. (7 5/8 x 5 1/2"). 11 leaves of manuscript (plus three blank vellum leaves at the front and four at the back). Single column, varying number of lines per page, in a very pretty calligraphic hand.
LOVELY RED MOROCCO, SUMPTUOUSLY GILT AND ELABORATELY INLAID, BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE (stamp-signed in gilt on rear turn-in), covers framed with gilt-lettered quotation from the work bordered by gilt fillets, inlaid quatrefoils of green morocco on gilt ground at corners, upper cover densely gilt with swirling sprays of leafy branches bearing inlaid citron morocco daisies, all on a stippled ground, a large wreath of gilt leaves with inlaid black morocco berries at center enclosing a scroll with gilt titling, beneath the wreath a circle with the monogrammed initials "M A," lower cover also with a central medallion surrounded by gilt leaves, and inlaid flowers on a stippled ground, raised bands, one compartment with gilt lettering, the others with a central inlaid flower surrounded by gilt dots and leaves, turn-ins with multiple gilt rules and dots, each corner with an inlaid green morocco flower and gilt leaves, blue silk pastedowns and endleaves, all edges gilt (recently rejointed with great skill). In a custom red morocco-backed chemise lined with suede and in matching morocco-backed and morocco-lipped slipcase. Every page of text with one or (more often) two large and beautifully painted initials, FIVE PAGES WITH FULL BORDERS featuring brightly colored acanthus and stylized flowers, with much gold. Verso of pastedown with ex-libris of Fanny Jalkoff, with contemporary manuscript notation "Paris, January, 1922." The front board slightly darker than the back, but IN EXTREMELY FINE CONDITION, the vellum clean, the paint very bright, and in a very well-preserved binding resplendent with gilt.
This is a flamboyantly bound and handsomely illuminated vellum manuscript containing excerpts from the 12 books of "Meditations" of the second century A.D. Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-80). Composed by Aurelius for personal edification, the meditations instruct the reader to obey the divine law that our reason leads us to understand, to forgive injuries, to treat all humans as equals, and to wait for death without fear. The work originally appeared in print in 1550, and the first edition in English was issued in a translation by Casaubon in 1634. The excerpts in the present work consist of short, pithy statements--one to two per page--each preceded by a handsomely decorated initial inspired by those found in Medieval manuscripts. The exuberant and brightly colored borders are especially reminiscent of Italian humanist manuscripts of the 15th century, incorporating a bright and highly saturated color palette that favors deep blue grounds coupled with vibrant shades of yellow, red, violet, and teal, and heightened with burnished gold. The decorations are all painted with exquisite attention to detail and demonstrate the artist's innate understanding of color, resulting in a decorative program that is as delicate as it is vital and robust. Though the colophon notes that it was "written out and illuminated by Sangorski & Sutcliffe," the work was presumably done by Alberto Sangorski (1862-1932) alone. A Polish émigré, Alberto started his professional life as secretary to a goldsmith's firm, became attracted to the book arts at the age of 43, and began doing illuminated manuscripts that were then bound by his brother Francis' firm, Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Sometime around 1910, Alberto and Francis had a falling out, perhaps over attribution of the manuscript work; the artist then went to work for Riviere—the chief competitor to his brother's firm—where he was allowed to sign his manuscripts with his own name. Binders Francis Sangorski (1875-1912) and George Sutcliffe (1878-1943) met as boys attending Douglas Cockerell's bookbinding classes at the L. C. C. Central School. Cockerell was so impressed by their skill that he hired Sutcliffe as a finisher and Sangorski as a forwarder. In 1901, Francis and George went into business for themselves, and before long, they had become two of the most renowned English binders of the 20th century. The multiple techniques and impressive gilding displayed on our binding are testaments to their talents, and represent many hours of delicate work. (ST17129-015)
Add to Cart Price: $15,000.00
PJP Catalog: 79.031