(London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1948). 362 x 222 mm. (14 1/4 x 8 3/4"). 266 pp.,  leaf (colophon).Translated from the Welsh by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones. No. 300 OF 550 COPIES. First Edition of this Translation.
Original rust-colored half morocco over tan buckram by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (stamp-signed on front turn-in), upper cover with large gilt Celtic design by Braby, smooth spine with gilt titling. With 20 wood engravings, including illustrated title page and two maps, by Dorothea Braby. Cockalorum 176; Cave and Manson, pp. 192-95. ◆Morocco with small areas of minor soiling, buckram faintly bubbled where it meets the leather (as often), a couple of leaves with trivial foxing, otherwise fine--very clean and fresh internally, and in a binding with few signs of use.
This handsome edition of the Medieval prose masterpiece of Welsh literature combines a translation praised by the Oxford Companion for "its subtle evocation of the spirit of the original and the unfailing elegance of its style" with illustrations that Cockalorum proclaims "a perfect interpretation of the great literature of a nation." "Mabinogion" is a collection of 11 tales first recorded in the 12th and 13th centuries, based on an oral tradition of folklore, heroic legends, and Celtic mythology. The work was first translated into English and given its present title by Lady Charlotte Guest in the mid-19th century. The Oxford Companion to the Literature of Wales declares our translation "largely responsible for awakening world interest in these tales. It is still the authoritative translation, notable for its combination of meticulous accuracy and a fine literary style." It is the result of a collaboration between two professors at the University College of Wales, Gwyn Jones (1907-99), who held the Rendell chair of English language and literature, and Thomas Jones (1910-72), professor of Welsh. Illustrator Dorothea Braby (1909-87) spent 18 months creating the complex illustrations here. Trained at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, she worked as a freelance designer and illustrated a number of books for the Golden Cockerel Press before taking up a career as a social worker in 1959. Established by Hal Taylor in 1920, Golden Cockerel was led by Christopher Sandford from 1933 to 1959, and published 120 titles during his tenure. It has always maintained an honored position in the second tier of fine English private presses, after the Big Three of Kelmscott, Ashendene, and Doves. (ST18999b)