(London: Macmillan & Co., 1877). 181 x 127 mm. (7 1/8 x 5"). xiv, 284, 4 pp. (ads). First Edition with these Illustrations.
EXTREMELY FINE DARK GREEN CRUSHED MOROCCO, HANDSOMELY GILT, BY THE DOVES BINDERY (stamp-signed and dated 1905 on rear turn-in), covers with double gilt fillet border and Tudor rose cornerpieces set among leafy sprays and circlets, raised bands, spine compartments heavily gilt with central Tudor rose framed by trefoil cornerpieces and accented with small tools, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt and with stippled gauffering. With 116 illustrations by Randolph Caldecott, including frontispiece, title page, and five full-page plates. Front pastedown with engraved bookplate of William F. Gable (see below). Tidcombe 379 (for the binding). Edges of free endpaper at front and back with the usual (but here rather pronounced) offsetting from turn-ins, otherwise A MAGNIFICENT COPY, the text with virtually no signs of use and THE BEAUTIFUL BINDING ABSOLUTELY FLAWLESS.
Offered here in a time capsule copy, this edition of the tale of a wedding at the English country home of Squire Bracebridge (a popular character from Irving's "Geoffrey Crayon's Sketch Book") is embellished with the charming drawings of Randolph Caldecott (1846-86), who first achieved commercial success with this work and its companion volume, "Old Christmas" (1875). According to the DNB, "these volumes were early examples of 'gift books,' publications made to a higher standard of printing, decoration, binding, and tooling than was the commercial norm. They were bought for family libraries by members of the increasingly affluent and numerous middle and upper classes in Britain, and kept for display as much as for reading." One can find (even if not easily) Doves bindings that are more magnificent than the present one, but our volume stands out nevertheless, particularly since its glittering, as-new condition both showcases the high level of workmanship and reflects the high quality of materials that have gone into its production. Even though Doves bindings have been almost universally prized by their owners as handsome and precious objects (and thus carefully preserved), it is increasingly difficult to find them in mint condition, as seen here. And it is worth noting that the color of the present binding is uncommon: dark green seems to have been chosen for less than five percent of Doves bindings (russet was far and away the most popular color, followed by dark blue and then red or olive). A prosperous merchant who succeeded without the help of inherited wealth or connections, William F. Gable (1856-1921) was a gentlemanly collector from Altoona, Pennsylvania, with eclectic tastes, but Dickinson says that he especially "favored association books, autographed manuscripts, and letters from important literary and historical figures." His very large collection of English and American literature was dispersed mostly in eight major sales between 1923 and 1925. (ST17129-029)
Add to Cart Price: $9,500.00
PJP Catalog: 79.083