A Binding Exemplifying Creative Design and Perfection of Finishing, With Precisely Expressed Animation and Elegance Everywhere


(London: [Riccardi Press] Philip Lee Warner for the Medici Society, 1914). 270 x 200 mm. (10 1/2 x 7 3/4"). xv, [i], 88 pp., [2] leaves. No. 111 OF 500 COPIES ON PAPER (and 12 on vellum).

SUPERB MAHOGANY BROWN MOROCCO, GILT AND INLAID, BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in), covers framed by gilt fillets and cresting leaf roll, the dove of the Holy Spirit centered at head of frame, panels semé with rows of alternating gilt fire and flying bird tools and inlaid red morocco apples, centerpiece of four inlaid morocco circles in various colors in a diamond formation, those on upper cover tooled in gilt or blind with representations of the sun, the moon and stars, the birds of the air, and the fish in the sea, those on the lower cover with gilt and inlaid flowers or fruits, raised bands, spine compartments with gilt fire or inlaid apple centerpiece surrounded by gilt tooling, gilt lettering, turn-ins with gilt rules, dark brown watered silk endleaves, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. In a well-preserved marbled paper slipcase with morocco lip. Woodcut Riccardi Press device on final leaf, title vignette and 10 color plates with captioned tissue guards, after F. Cayley Robinson. Ransom, p. 395; Tomkinson, p. 149. ◆A BEAUTIFUL COPY, clean, fresh, and bright internally, in a lustrous, unworn binding.

This is an attractive printing of the first book of the Bible, in the august language of the Authorized Version, with ethereal color plates by Frederick Cayley Robinson depicting key events from the text--and offered here in a striking binding by one of the leading English workshops of the 20th century. Painter, set designer, and book illustrator Robinson (1862-1927) studied art in London, Paris, and Florence, and was much influenced by Edward Burne-Jones. DNB says flatly that our volume represents Robinson's "finest achievement as a book illustrator." Rendered in pale tones, the plates here include one of Robinson's finest works, "Death of Abel," which DNB praises for capturing "the horrific moment after the fratricide—the 'frozen moment' held for eternity." Founded by Herbert Horne, the Riccardi Press was adopted as the imprint of the Medici Society in 1909 and issued books until 1933. According to Tomkinson, "the books have nearly all been printed at the Chiswick Press (under the supervision of Charles T. Jacobi until his retirement in 1922) and published by Philip Lee Warner, who was Publisher to the Medici Society until his death in 1925. . . . The aim of the Press has been to produce finely printed books at reasonable prices and for sale through the ordinary channels of trade. . . . All editions are strictly limited, and the type is distributed after the edition has been printed." 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, Francis drowned, and his 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. Our binding is a wonderful example of the creativity of the artisans' design and the perfection of their finishing, with precisely expressed animation and elegance everywhere.

Price: $6,500.00