Splendid Sangorski Work, with a Letter from the Binders Explaining the Significance of the Volume's 250 Inlays


(London: Published for the Florence Press by Chatto & Windus, 1910). 250 x 185 mm. (9 7/8 x 7 1/4"). 5 p.l., 120 pp., [1] leaf. ONE OF 250 COPIES ON PAPER (12 additional copies were printed on vellum).

ANIIMATED DARK GREEN INLAID CRUSHED MOROCCO, ELABORATELY GILT, BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE (signed on front turn-in), covers with inlaid border of russet ribbon laced at each corner through a blue heart from which is suspended a pair of bells in inlaid brown morocco, an inner border of red inlaid hearts alternating with small gilt floral tools, front cover with centerpiece medallion of five inlaid flowers in green, white, and yellow on a densely stippled ground within a red inlaid circle with a gilt collar of oak leaves and acorns, rear board with centerpiece inlay in brown and pink of Pan pipes suspended on a ribbon, the whole enclosed in a gilt garland; raised bands, spine gilt in compartments featuring floral cornerpieces and knotwork centerpiece with red heart and dot inlays, very ornate gilt inner dentelles, silk pastedowns and endpapers, all edges gilt. In a (slightly marked) quarter morocco fleece-lined clamshell box with gilt titling on spine. 12 fine color plates by Norman Wilkinson. With the binders' typed description of the binding on Sangorski & Sutcliffe letterhead laid in at front. ◆Tips of joints and corners almost imperceptibly rubbed, one leaf with small faint stain, a few minute marginal adhesions, otherwise INTERNALLY AND EXTERNALLY IN VIRTUALLY PERFECT CONDITION.

This is a finely bound and finely printed edition of a group of essays, short stories, and autobiographical and travel sketches, originally published in various periodicals and first printed as a collection in 1881. Founded in 1908 by the London publishers Chatto & Windus and operated by Philip Lee Warner, the Florence Press had as its expressed intention the production of "beautiful books in the choicest types . . . in larger editions, and at [lower] cost than [was] usual with such monuments of typography as the issues of the Kelmscott [and other] presses." Florence books are readily distinguishable by their special type, designed by Herbert P. Horne after 15th century Italian faces that are elegant, simple, and easily readable. Binders Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe 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. We can date the time of our binding to the decade of the 1910s because there is a letter from the binders laid in with an explanation of the decoration on stationery with the printed date "191__." The letter indicates that "250 different pieces of various colored leathers are used as inlays," many to suggest the contents of the essays: "the wedding bells and heart border are suggestive of the first essay, 'Virginibus Puerisque.' The front centerpiece composed of spring flowers surrounded by a wreath of oak [suggests] 'Crabbed Age and Youth,' and the back centerpiece [suggests] 'Pan's Pipes.'" In terms of its design, quality of execution, and condition, the binding is simply beautiful.

Price: $12,500.00