An Irresistible Combination: Keats, Kelmscott, Zaehnsdorf Fanfare Binding

THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.

(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1894). 210 x 140 mm. (8 1/4 x 5 1/2"). 4 p.l. (one blank), 384 pp., [1] leaf (colophon).Edited by F. S. Ellis. ONE OF 300 COPIES on paper (and seven on vellum.).

ESPECIALLY STRIKING BROWN CRUSHED MOROCCO, VERY LAVISHLY GILT, IN THE "FANFARE" STYLE, BY ZAEHNSDORF (stamp-signed and dated 1900 on front doublure and with oval stamp on rear endleaf), covers with strapwork forming multiple compartments, some filled with sprays of foliage, others with intricate stippled filigree, all around central oval; raised bands, spine gilt in similarly decorated compartments, BROWN MOROCCO DOUBLURES with lovely strapwork and filigree lobed frame with sprays of foliage emanating from the lobes onto the central panel, brown morocco endleaves with mitered gilt frame and stippled gilt fleurons at corners, top edge gilt, other edges gilded on the rough. Elaborate border on woodcut title and first page of text, decorative woodcut initials, device in colophon. Verso of front free endleaf with bookplate of M. C. D. Borden. Peterson A-24; Sparling 24; Tomkinson, p. 113. Spine just softly sunned to a lighter brown, light offsetting to flyleaf from bookplate; in all other ways A SUMPTUOUS VOLUME IN VERY FINE CONDITION.

This is a wonderfully appealing item that combines a major publication of William Morris' Kelmscott Press with a virtuoso binding from one of England's best workshops. In his brief but intense life, John Keats (1795-1821) produced some of the most popular and most influential Romantic poetry ever printed. DNB notes that "for many, Keats has epitomized a popular conception of the Romantic poet, yearning for escape from the pain and banality of everyday life into a sensuous dream world of the imagination. This underestimates Keats's intellectual toughness, literary professionalism, and humorous good nature. The generosity of his spirit, the influence of the letters, and the significance of his achievement for readers of poetry, have confirmed his stature as one of the greatest English poets." The binding is a modified example of the fanfare style of decoration popular in France from the 1560s to about 1640. The main features of this style, in Glaister's words, "are interlacing ribbons" that form "compartments of various shapes, with emphasis given to a central compartment." Ornaments made with small hand tools "fill all the compartments except the central one and almost completely cover the sides." The fanfare style is perhaps most frequently associated with the work of Nicolas and Clovis Eve, court binders and booksellers to successive kings of France from about 1578 to 1634. It is generally believed that the term "fanfare" actually took its name from an early 17th century music book (the title of which begins with the word "fanfare") acquired by the bibliophile Charles Nodier in 1829. The book was bound for Nodier by the famous Parisian binder Joseph Thouvenin, using an appropriately retrospective design in imitation of the Eves' style, which from that point forward came to be known as "fanfare." The Zaehnsdorf bindery produced a number of bindings in this genre with their usual expertise. It is generally understood that the Zaehnsdorf firm reserved the use of its oval stamp showing a binder at work for their finest bindings, including those entered in exhibitions. This binding would certainly be a specimen any artisan would want to display as evidence of his taste and skill. The provenance here is distinguished. Matthew Chaloner Durfee Borden (1842-1912) was an American connoisseur who made a fortune as a banker and textile manufacturer and who collected sumptuous bindings as well as finely printed and illustrated works. The bulk of his library was sold by the American Art Association Galleries in 838 lots on 17-18 February 1913.
(ST17129-030)

Keywords: Poetry

Add to Cart Price: $9,500.00

PJP Catalog: 79.153

THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS. KELMSCOTT PRESS, JOHN KEATS, BINDINGS - ZAEHNSDORF.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.
THE POEMS OF JOHN KEATS.