(London: Eveleigh Nash, 1913). 218 x 138 mm. (8 1/2 x 5 1/2"). xv, , 355,  pp.
PRETTY RED MOROCCO COSWAY-STYLE BINDING BY BAYNTUN RIVIERE (stamp-signed on front turn-in), covers with gilt French fillet border and lacy frame, upper cover with inset oval portrait miniature of Queen Christina under glass, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with floral centerpiece, gilt lettering, gilt-framed turn-ins, leather hinges, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. With frontispiece portrait colored by a later hand and five portraits, as called for, and EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED with 13 portraits, three of them hand-colored, one of these the inspiration for the miniature on the front cover. Front pastedown with morocco bookplate of W. A. Foyle, Beeleigh Abbey. ◆Spine gently and evenly sunned, faint offsetting from turn-ins (as very often), isolated small spots of foxing or light offsetting from illustrations, but QUITE A FINE COPY--clean and fresh throughout, and in an unworn binding.
This account of the fascinating and eccentric Queen Christina is extra-illustrated with portraits of key figures in her story and elegantly bound by Bayntun-Riviere, the successor to the firm that originated the Cosway style on display here. After 99 years of family ownership, the Riviere firm merged with the Bayntun bindery of Bath in 1939. The "Cosway" style of binding, with painted miniatures inlaid in handsome morocco, apparently originated with the London bookselling firm of Henry Sotheran about 1909, the year G. C. Williamson's book entitled "Richard Cosway" was remaindered by Sotheran and presumably given this special decorative treatment to boost sales. The name "Cosway" then was used to describe any book so treated, whoever its author. The earliest Cosway bindings were executed by Riviere from designs by Sotheran manager J. H. Stonehouse. One of the most scholarly women of her time, Christina (1626-89) became queen at the age of six when her father died fighting for the Protestant cause in Germany. During her eight-year regency, she was educated as a royal son would have been, studying classical literature and history, philosophy, and religion. In addition to her childhood tongues of German and Swedish, she became proficient in Greek, Latin, Dutch, Danish, French, Italian, Arabic, and Hebrew. Her love of learning was lifelong: she assembled a world-class library and entered into intellectual discourse with the most learned men in Europe. She abdicated the throne in 1654 and settled in Rome, collecting books and art, becoming a devoted Catholic, and continuing her participation in intellectual life, scandalizing many by such "masculine" behavior. This volume was in the renowned collection of W. A. Foyle (1885-1963), co-founder with his brother of the famous Foyle's Bookshop in Charing Cross Road. The three large Foyle sales at Christie's held in 2000 were a bibliophilic highlight of the new century, and the sum of $19 million for which William Foyle's personal library sold in July set a record for private European collections. (ST18405)