(Hammersmith: Kelmscott Press, 1892). 203 x 140 mm. (8 x 5 1/2"). 3 p.l., 127,  pp. ONE OF 500 COPIES.
BEAUTIFUL CONTEMPORARY IVORY PIGSKIN ELABORATELY DECORATED IN GILT AND BLIND TO A MEDIEVAL DESIGN BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with outer frame outlined in gilt and with gothic rosette cornerpieces, the frame containing a quote from the book ("trees and fields and flowers were made for all and are necessary for all") lettered in blind in an Old English face, inner frame featuring densely twining gilt shamrocks and with blind-stamped square floral cornerpieces, central panel blind-stamped with a graceful gothic colonnade forming four Medieval arches; raised bands, spine compartments outlined in gilt and blind-tooled with rosettes, gilt titling, turn-ins with gilt rule borders and blind cresting roll, all edges gilt. In a (slightly scuffed) green linen clamshell box. Large and small woodcut initials, printer's devices (at end of preface and on last leaf), full white-vine border on first page, and 17 small illustrations (most relating to gothic architecture). Tomkinson, pp. 108-09; Sparling 4; Peterson 4. Pigskin just faintly soiled, faint offsetting from white vine title page border, otherwise A FINE AND ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE COPY, the text very clean, fresh, and bright, and the most appealing binding with only insignificant signs of wear.
This is the fourth Kelmscott book, issued while the press was still less than a year old, and offered here in a fine Sangorski binding that is both appropriate and greatly pleasing. The text comprises the chapter from "The Stones of Venice" that Ruskin thought was the most important in the book. Morris was deeply influenced by Ruskin, whose writings on art and workmanship were a kind of revelation to him. In the summer of 1855, college friends Morris, William Fulford, and Burne-Jones traveled to see the great Gothic cathedrals of northern France, and from that time onward, Morris "defended the Gothic as the only morally viable architectural style." (DNB) Feelings of admiration were mutual between Morris and Ruskin: Sparling reports that the latter described Morris as "beaten gold." While there are obvious differences between the two, the present binding and the magnificent one designed by Cobden-Sanderson for the monumental Kelmscott Chaucer have the same flavor (white pigskin, considerable gilt foliate decoration, a legend around the perimeter of the cover). Both bindings are intended to give an antique feeling appropriate for the content of the books they cover, and it is probably more derivation than coincidence that our later Sangorski binding resembles in more than just an oblique way its famous Doves Bindery predecessor. (ST17640dd)
Add to Cart Price: $15,000.00
PJP Catalog: CA22BF.028