(London: [Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. for] Kegan Paul, Trench & Co., 1883). 205 x 130 mm. (8 x 5"). 2 p.l. (first blank), 227,  pp. No. 2 OF 50 COPIES of the Large Paper Edition, signed by the printer.
Understated but appealing tan morocco by the Guild of Women Binders (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), covers framed by two plain blind rules, smooth spine with three blind-tooled lilies on delicate stems running the length of spine to bloom at the top, just above a blind-tooled panel with gilt lettering, blind-ruled turn-ins, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, ENTIRELY UNOPENED. With a frontispiece portrait of Milton, original tissue guard. Spine a little darkened, boards freckled with a few small dark spots, otherwise a very fine copy, the unread text pristine, and the binding virtually unworn.
Elegantly printed on fine paper, this edition of the great poet done on the most luxurious of papers, with margins occupying easily twice as much area of the page as the text, was bound by the Guild of Women Binders, a group of British female artisans responsible for distinctively innovative binding decoration during a kind of golden moment at the very end of the 19th century. The bookseller Frank Karslake established the Guild in 1898 in order to give an organizational identity to a group of women already at work binding books in various parts of Britain, often in their own homes. Karslake first became interested in women binders when he visited the Victorian Era Exhibition at Earl's Court in 1897, held to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. He was impressed with a number of bookbindings at the Jubilee exhibit, prominent among them being those of Mrs. Annie MacDonald of Edinburgh, and he invited the women to exhibit their work in his shop at 61 Charing Cross Road. The Guild was formed soon thereafter, when some of the women named Karslake as their agent. The Guild was closely associated with the Hampstead Bindery, the two groups exhibiting bindings together at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 and elsewhere. The elongated floral decoration on this binding is characteristic of the Guild's style, but the present example is more restrained than usual, and was likely done by a binder who was just beginning her career. (ST17263-01)
Add to Cart Price: $1,750.00
PJP Catalog: 80.013