(London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1883). 205 x 130 mm. (8 1/8 x 5"). 1 p.l. (limitations), xxiii, [1], 283, [3] pp.Edited by Oswald Crawfurd. No. 14 of 50 COPIES OF THE LARGE PAPER EDITION, signed by the printer, Charles Whittingham & Co.

QUITE PRETTY CRIMSON MOROCCO, GILT IN AN ART NOUVEAU DESIGN, BY ZAEHNSDORF (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in and with the stamped oval, normally marking the firm's best work, on the rear pastedown), covers with two gilt fillet frames enclosing a central panel with five vertical vine sprouting leafy branches and striking Art Nouveau blossoms, smooth spine with elongated compartment containing similar vine, smaller compartment above it with gilt lettering, turn-ins with gilt fillet and leafy branch border, deep red silk endleaves, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed and almost entirely UNOPENED. Title page printed in black and red. A Large Paper Copy. ◆Spine evenly darkened (with gilt a little dulled), front joint with thin three-inch crack at bottom, isolated trivial foxing to the (vast) margins, but an otherwise fine, mostly unread, copy in a binding with lustrous boards.

In an extremely pleasing animated binding by a leading English book binder, this is a special Large Paper Copy printed on high quality paper of a work celebrating comedic playwrights from Shakespeare to Sheridan. The book is comprised of excerpts from some of England's most beloved comedies, including scenes from early works such as Shakespeare's "King Henry IV, Part I," and Jonson's, "The Alchemist"; pieces from the Restoration period, such as Wycherley's "The Plain Dealer" and Farquhar's "The Beaux' Stratagem"; and later comedies of manners, such as Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer" and Sheridan's "School for Scandal." The editor of the work, Oswald Crawfurd (1834-1909) was a career diplomat with a passion for writing. According to DNB, "his literary activity was diverse" and included about 40 fiction and non-fiction volumes as well as essays, poetry, articles, plays, and even a book on Bridge. Born in Pest, Hungary, binder Joseph Zaehnsdorf (1816-86) served his apprenticeship in Stuttgart, worked at a number of European locations as a journeyman, and then settled in London, where he was hired first by Westley and then by Mackenzie before opening his own workshop in 1842. His son and namesake took over the business at age 33, when the senior Joseph died, and the firm flourished under the son's leadership, becoming a leading West End bindery. Over the years, Zaehnsdorf employed a considerable number of distinguished binders, including the Frenchman Louis Genth (who was chief finisher from 1859-84), and trained several others, including Roger de Coverly and Sarah Prideaux. A family-run business until 1947, the Zaehnsdorf bindery has continued to produce consistently attractive and innovative designs executed with unfailing skill. The present binding shows the high quality of finishing typical of Zaehnsdorf work: the tooling is intricate and precise, creating a design that is energetic, yet carefully balanced.

Price: $800.00