(London: [Printed by William Clowes and Sons for] Guild of Women Binders, 1897). 295 x 220 mm. (11 1/2 x 8 3/4"). 2 p.l., 16 pp. No. 62 OF 100 COPIES on Japanese vellum.

Publisher's cream buckram, gilt titling stamped to upper cover. With decorative initials and other ornaments in the text, extra illustrated title page, frontispiece, endpiece, and 12 FULL-PAGE PLATES after pencil drawings in the Art Nouveau style, all by Fell and all with original tissue guards. Verso of final leaf with evidence of removal of pasted-on material, perhaps a bookseller's ticket. ◆Cloth slightly soiled (as almost inevitable with white buckram) and with one-inch tear near head of front joint, the tips of three corners exposed, other negligible imperfections, but entirely clean and fresh internally, and in a binding showing only minor signs of use.

Printed for the Guild of Women Binders on luxury paper and beautifully illustrated by Granville Fell, this volume was published expressly to be bound by one of the Guild's artisans, but our Cinderella copy never made it to the ball. Nevertheless, this copy is from a special edition, apart from, and superior to, the "regular" printing issued in the same year by Chapman and Hall. It is possible that our volume was bound by a Guild trainee at the Hampstead Bindery, the other bibliopegic venture of Guild founder Frank Karslake. The Guild of Women Binders was 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. Bookseller Frank Karslake 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 book bindings 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. He formed the Guild soon thereafter, when some of the women named Karslake as their agent. As he recruited new women binders, he used the (male) artisans at his Hampstead Bindery to teach them fundamentals. According to Tidcombe, "Karslake liked special copies of books that sold for a higher price," and this is one of nine titles he had "printed for the Guild on Japanese vellum" for binding by a Guild member in the distinctive style that made their reputation.

Price: $1,100.00