Charming, and Lustrous, with Fazakerley-Like Fore-Edges: A Mid-19th Century Bible Set from the Eminent Hayday Bindery


(Oxford: Printed at the University Press by Samuel Collingwood and Co., 1840-41). 148 x 185 mm. (5 3/4 x 3 1/4"). Two volumes.

VERY FINE RED MOROCCO, INLAID AND GILT, BY HAYDAY (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpapers), covers with central inlaid green morocco oval surrounded by black morocco inlays, each corner with L-shaped black and yellow morocco inlays, all ruled in gilt and embellished with numerous gilt dots, raised bands, spine compartments with green, black, or yellow inlaid strips tooled in gilt and surrounded by gilt rules and floral tools, gilt-rolled turn-ins, EDGES GILT AND ELABORATELY GAUFFERED, EACH EDGE WITH A PAINTED SCROLL SURROUNDING A GREEN BRANCH, each scroll with a different saying: "Thy word is true," "Search the Scriptures," "Thy word is pure," "Watch and Pray," and "Pray always." Printed in red and black. ◆Perhaps a breath of rubbing to extremities, faint offsetting to free endpapers from turn-ins (as expected), but IN NEARLY PRISTINE CONDITION INSIDE AND OUT, the bindings especially lustrous.

This is an exceptionally pretty set with extremely ornate edge decoration, and offered here in remarkably fine condition. One of the most prominent and productive English binders of the 19th century, James Hayday (1796-1872) first appeared in the London directories in 1825, and a dozen years later, he was employing a staff of between 30 and 40, including 10 finishers. He was known for his decorative work, using high quality leather and being very liberal with gilt embellishment. The sculpted gilding and painting on the edges here in very similar to the work being done by the firm of Thomas Fazakerley, who operated in Liverpool from 1835-77. One is inclined to wonder if the artisan responsible for creating this had trained in Fazakerley's workshop. In any case, the charming volumes, with their remarkable lustrous leather, are almost compellingly attractive.

Price: $8,500.00