Sangorski Beauty Inside and Out, And (One of 25?) on Special Paper


([London: Siegle, Hill & Co., 1910]). 315 x 228 mm. (12 1/2 x 9"). 2 p.l., 6 pp., [19] leaves, [1], 16, [1] pp., [11] leaves.Translated by Edward FitzGerald. Apparently ONE OF 25 ON JAPANESE VELLUM (there were also 550 regular copies on paper).

LOVELY GREEN MOROCCO, GILT, BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), centerpiece composed of gilt and inlaid red roses, stems radiating from a central blossom, framed with several plain rules and one dotted rule, elaborate gilt cornerpieces composed of a trio of gilt roses with long stems and swirling leaves, raised bands, compartments filled with gilt leaves or gilt lettering, gilt turn-ins with multiple decorative rules, top edge gilt, others trimmed on the rough. Housed in a slightly worn green cloth clamshell box lined with felt. Numerous decorative initials designed by Alberto Sangorski printed in gold and colors, and 12 COLOR PLATES (including a particularly elaborate title and first page), with illustrations designed by Ewan Geddes. Printed in red and black. Potter 81; See: Paas, p. 518. ◆Four of the plates with light gray marginal discoloration, apparently from the printing process (hints of this elsewhere, but much less of a problem than in other copies, where the darkening appears throughout), otherwise internally fine, and THE BINDING ESPECIALLY WELL PRESERVED, being lustrous and with virtually no signs of use.

This is a beautifully bound facsimile of an original manuscript illuminated and written out by Alberto Sangorski and illustrated by Ewan Geddes, based on FitzGerald's enduringly popular translation of Omar Khayyam. A work that appealed strongly to Victorian sensibilities, the Rubaiyat, first printed anonymously in 1859, became immensely popular and went through a great many editions. The present work seems to belong to what Potter calls the "Sangorski and Sutcliffe Edition," of which there were 550 regular copies on paper and 25 copies on Japanese vellum. Ours is printed on Japanese vellum, but it differs slightly from Potter's description: it is without a limitations page, it omits the publisher's information on the title page, and, although specially bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, the binding does not (and never did) contain clasps. Still, the exceptionally attractive binding here adds greatly to the mystique of this copy, being an excellent example of the fine work produced by Sangorski & Sutcliffe when the firm was at the top of their game. After studying under, and then working for, Douglas Cockerell, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe founded their own bindery in 1901 and continued in a successful partnership until 1912. During that year, the firm suffered three major blows: their famously splendid jewelled binding, dubbed the "Great Omar," was lost on the Titanic; a few weeks after this accident, Francis himself drowned; and Francis' brother, Alberto, who had been a central figure in producing the firm's vellum illuminated manuscripts, went over to Riviere. Despite these losses, the firm grew and prospered, employing a staff of 80 by the mid-1920s and becoming perhaps the most successful English bindery of the 20th century. Though he was best known for his watercolor scenes of rural and winter landscapes, Scottish artist Ewan Geddes (1866-1935) abandons his usual restrained palette in this collaboration with Sangorski & Sutcliffe, employing instead a colorful array of paints that capture the warmth and sensuous lyricism of the text.

Price: $9,500.00