A Mid-19th Century Book on Virginia, in a Binding with an Imaginative Depiction of the State


(New York: Harper & Brothers, 1857). 250 x 155 mm. (9 3/4 x 6"). 300, [4] (ads) pp. FIRST EDITION.

EXCELLENT MODERN MAROON CRUSHED MOROCCO BY MONIQUE LALLIER (signed on front turn-in), covers and smooth spine with wrap-around inlays of green, tan, ivory, and marbled pink leathers, some textured, in an undulating pattern evocative of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, gilt lettering at head of spine, pink endpapers, top edge gilt. In a matching maroon morocco-backed clamshell box. With 138 illustrations by "Porte Crayon" in the text. Front pastedown with bookplate of Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls; front flyleaf with 19th century ink signature of A. W. Callisen. ◆Occasional minor marginal stains, smudges, or foxing, one leaf creased, but a very nearly fine copy internally, clean and fresh, and the binding as new.

This is a superb example of the work of American binder Monique Lallier, its multi-colored onlays in various leathers subtly referencing the landscape explored in these humorous sketches. As she often does, Lallier created a design here that wraps around from back to front, more fully realizing a depiction of the physical context in which the text is set. Born in 1941, Lallier began her career in the 1960s while studying in Montreal at Cotnoir Cappone School of Fashion and at L'Art de la Reliure bookbinding school with Simone B. Roy. She furthered her craft in Paris with Roger Arnoult; in Ascona, Switzerland, at the Centro del Bel Libro with Edwin Heim; and at Solothurn, Switzerland with Hugo Peller. She has served as director of the American Academy of Bookbinding and president of the Association des Relieurs du Quebec, and her work may be found in major institutions and private collections around the world. Oak Knoll Press published a retrospective of her work in 2018, which Alan Isaacs of the Society of Bookbinders called "a testament to the varied and enduring contribution that Lallier has made to the design and technique of bookbinding." The text here is by writer and illustrator David Hunter Strother (1816-88), one of the most popular contributors to "Harper's Monthly" under his pen name, "Porte Crayon" [French for "Pencil Holder"]. Based on a 500-mile hike he took with his cousins through the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, it is "a lively, loosely organized mix of entertaining anecdotes and useful information, strewn with touches of satire and philosophical asides." (ANB) A contemporary critic for rival "Graham's Magazine" declared that the stories "form one of the most genial, whole-souled, amusing and descriptive works on local American scenery, manners and customs." Our copy was owned by (and likely bound for) Daniel Henry Holmes Ingalls (1916-99), Wales Professor of Sanskrit at Harvard University, who divided his time between a distinguished scholarly career in Massachusetts and family business interests in his beloved home state of Virginia.

Price: $4,500.00