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Fine Bindings

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  • Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory – Shakespeare Head Private Press Limited Edition 1933

    Le Morte d’Arthur – Sir Thomas Malory – Shakespeare Head Private Press Limited Edition 1933

    Full title … The Noble & Joyous Boke Entitled Le Morte d’Arthur Nothwythstondying it Treateth of the Byrth Lyf and Actes of the sayd Kynge Arthur; of his Noble Knightes of the Rounde Table. Theye Merveylous Enquestes and Adventures. Thachyevynge of the Sanc.Greall and the Ende the Delourous Deth: and Departynge out of this Worlde of Them al. Wyche Boke was Reduced in to Englysshe by the Well Dysposyd Knyghte Syr Thomas Malory.

    Two volumes, quarto, number xxx of 350 copies for sale (a further 20 copies were not for sale) with 22 woodcut illustrations. Original binding in terra cotta half Morocco over ivory buckram, flat spines with gilt titling, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. Other edges untrimmed.

    The revered Shakespeare Head, Saint Aldates Oxford, edition of the most famous of the Arthurian tales, reprinted from and resembling in layout and typeface the 1498 edition of Wynkyn de Worde kept in the John Rylands Library, Manchester.

    Volume I comprises 4 initial blanks; half title; title with limitation on verso; prologus i-iv; table v-xxviii; Fyrste Boke to IX Boke 1-316 with woodcut in each; 3 final blanks. VolI comprises 4 initial blanks; half title; title with note to verso; Boke X – Boke XXI 1-373 with woodcuts to each and a further one in Boke XXI; notes 3; 3 final blanks. All as should be.

    Written in the 15th century by Thomas Malory the sweeping Mort d’Arthur includes the youth of Arthur, the romance of Guinevere and Lancelot, the Quest for the Grail, the tragedy of Tristan and Iseult etc.

    This superb work directly tied to the early days of printing in England, with broad margins, quality handmade paper and the impeccably reproduced typeface … all hallmarks of the Shakespeare Head Press.

    The Shakespeare Head Press was started in 1904 at Stratford Upon Avon by Arthur Bullen after he had had a dream about finely printing all of Shakespeare’s works at his birthplace, something that had not been done before. Much of his equipment and initial typeface came second had from William Morris’s Kelmscott Press. After Bullen’s death in 1927 the business was moved to Oxford under its new owners Basil Blackwell and Bernard Newdigate who was the typographer. They continued in the Morris tradition. The building in which they operated was commandeered by the American allies in 1942.

    King Arthur and his Legends and Death – Shakespeare Head Private Press edition.

    $690.00

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  • Private Presses and Their Books – Will Ransom

    Private Presses and Their Books – Will Ransom

    A fine copy of the reissue of this special book first printed in 1929.

    Published by James Cummins Bookseller, New York in 1992. Octavo, 493 pages. Original orange cloth covered binding with gilt title, no dust jacket as issued.The book contains some delightful illustrations of woodcut image and “Press Marks” and examples of the unique fonts used in the printing process.

    A thorough piece of work by Ransom who was expert in the private press movement in America and England. Starts very early with Caxton etc. Includes Kelmscott, Doves, Village, Ashedene, Merrymount, Brice Rodgers, Nonesuch etc.

    A book lovers delight to read … not at all dry ..

    James Cummins was established in 1978 and is at 699 Madison Avenue. A really super bookstore which has a number of specialities including not surprisingly Private Press. You must take time to go there when in the Big Apple.

    Super reference on the Private Press movement rejuvenated.

    $90.00

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  • Two Letters of Norman Lindsay – Richard Pennigton Private Press – Signed Number 5 of a Limitation of 75 Copies

    Two Letters of Norman Lindsay – Richard Pennigton Private Press – Signed Number 5 of a Limitation of 75 Copies

    Extended title … Two Letters from Norman Lindsay to Francis and Betty Crossle here printed for Members of the Christopher Brennan Society.

    Privately printed signed and numbered by Richard Pennington, limited to only 75 copies this number 5.

    The letters, in the possession of Richard Pennington printed for the first time – he received the permission of Janet Glad, Norman Lindsay’s daughter.

    Octavo, 24 pages, limitations page, bound in decorative string bound wrappers. Printed in Stephenson Blake’s Perpetua type on Barcham Green hand-made “Tovil’ paper by Richard Pennington at Presse de l’Abricotier Abatuu Blanzac France in September 1980.

    Richard Pennington was born at Rugby, England but spent a large part of his adult working life in Australia. He was Librarian at the University of Queensland for eighteen years from 1946. He retired to France where he purchased a hand printing set-up and operated first in Normandy then later in Blanzac. Ten years before this work he was involved in the printing of a special memoir on the Australian poet Christopher Brennan. Lindsay did a portrait sketch of Brennan for the memoir .. so you can begin to understand the connection.

    Pennington provides a lovely six page introduction. Pennington knew the recipients, who had introduced him to Brennan’s poetry. He describes the recipients interest in the arts and their rather metaphysical view of life and the world … something they had in common with Lindsay. Good content regarding their conversations about Lindsay and how Pennington came to receive the letters from Betty.

    The letters are most interesting a particularly that to Francis which runs to over 1,200 words. Lindsay clearly respects Francis as a Doctor and close friend .. as a consequence the content is extremely personal .. allowing one to understand this genius of man better. Lindsay struggles with over-reaching in his work and finds that whenever he tries to control this “problem” he usually turns to some other form of “work’. In the evenings he listens to classical music but that does not help as it stimulates his mind into thinking of many new elements of work yet to be done. Many rather complex metaphysical views are shared which seem to stem from deeper anxieties. He references Newman’s book .. the best revelation of the critical mind that I have come across, but read it with considerable disgust also. Critic Newman’s book on criticism was published in 1925 .. so dates the letter better than Pennington’s suggestion of the year before [Pennington references the wrong book].

    The letter to Betty is less wordy … just over 500 words … but perhaps more intimate. Lindsay obviously does not like Rousseau .. one of the most evil minds that ever appeared on earth in the disguise of a Good man. Lindsay adores Beethoven, Turner and Byron. He is close to finishing his novel Madame Life’s Lovers … which he will send shortly.

    Special Very Limited Private Press Lindsay Item – with an interesting series of connections

    $180.00

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  • A Plurality of Worlds – Bernard de Fontenelle – John Glanvill’s Translation – With a Prologue by David Garnett. Beautiful Limited Printing by the Nonesuch Press 1929 – Holden Provenance

    A Plurality of Worlds – Bernard de Fontenelle – John Glanvill’s Translation – With a Prologue by David Garnett. Beautiful Limited Printing by the Nonesuch Press 1929 – Holden Provenance

    A really striking production by the Nonesuch Press, England published in 1929. Octavo, x, 138 pages, bound in full vellum. The gold illumination to the front is as delicate as it is stunning.

    Nonesuch printed 1,200 copies and another 400 were produced by Randon House in the USA. The book design was by Francis Meynell, composed by T.W. Hay at the Nonesuch Press, and printed on Van Gelder paper at the Curwen Press (what a combination). The colour decorations were by T.L. Poulton and were stencilled to the item one by one.

    This copy is number 1215 and has exceptional Australian provenance carrying the bookplate of Edward Wheewall Holden – Yes, the founder of Holden cars.

    The original work was published in 1686 and represents an early exposition of cosmic pluralism i.e., that the stars are distant suns which may have their own planetary systems and as a result extra-terrestrial life is a possibility. The book is regarded as one of the first texts in the ‘Age of Enlightenment”

    The bigger cosmic picture explained by Fontenelle and made beautiful by the talented Nonesuch Press.

    $190.00

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  • The Martyrs of Science, or the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Kepler – Sir David Brewster – Special Binding – 1856

    The Martyrs of Science, or the Lives of Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Kepler – Sir David Brewster – Special Binding – 1856

    Published by John Murray, London in 1856. Small octavo 216 pages after preliminaries. Bound extravagantly in full purple Morocco, with rich gilt decoration to both boards and spine, the upper board with the arms of Milton Abbat School … a fine prize. A little rubbed externally, bright throughout.

    Sir David Brewster (1781-1868) was a Scottish scientist, inventor, academic. He was Principal at St Andrews and then Edinburgh University. Newtonian devotee and master in optics (hence his interest in the subjects of this book) he discovered Brewster’s Angle and pioneered mineralogical observations with the microscope. Inventor of the stereoscopic camera and kaleidoscope. He has a crater on the Moon named after him … the ultimate accolade.

    Galileo, Tycho Brahe and Kepler need less introduction.

    Nobody has been closer to the stars

    $140.00

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  • The Bridgewater Treatises: Including Rev William Buckland on Geology and Mineralogy, Charles Bell on the Hand, Whewell on Astronomy etc – Finely Bound – (1833-1845)

    The Bridgewater Treatises: Including Rev William Buckland on Geology and Mineralogy, Charles Bell on the Hand, Whewell on Astronomy etc – Finely Bound – (1833-1845)

    Eight works in 11 volumes, published in London by William Pickering, mixed editions various dates 1833 – 1845.

    Bound in full contemporary polished calf, boards gilt ruled, the spines with gilt lined raised bands, altered direct and dated at the foot of spine. Very good copies with an occasional mark externally and a faint damp stain to the uncoloured geology plates, outer corner. The famous massive folding coloured plate is in fine condition. Each volume carries the bookplate of Maximillian Dudley Digges Dalison.

    Francis Henry Egerton, 8th Earl of Bridgwater, a gentleman naturalist and scientist, commissioned the Bridgewater Treatises to be written on his death bed. He died in February 1829. Eight thousand pounds was given to the President of the Royal Society for this purpose. In turn the President appointed leading authorities in key fields to write works with reference to Natural Theology.

    The Voyager Treatise comprise Thomas Chalmers – The Adaption of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual Condition of Man; John Kidd – The Adaption of External Nature to the Physical Condition of Man; William Whewell – Astronomy and General Physics; Sir Charles Bell – The Hand, Its Mechanism and Vital Endowments as Evincing Design; Peter Mark Roget – Animals and Vegetable Physiology; William Buckland’s – Geology and Mineralogy; William Kirby – On the History, Habits and Instincts of Animals and William Prout – Chemistry, Meteorology and the Function of Digestion.

    The ninth and final Bridgewater Treatise – Charles Babbage – A Fragment is not included in the run.

    Many of the volumes stand alone as important works … Sir Charles Bell on the Hand, Astronomy by Whewell etc. It is the Rev Buckland that produced a truly remarkable work in the field of Geology. The second of two volumes contains all the 87 plates required all finely engraved and the large folding hand coloured plate is something very special.

    Rev William Buckland (1784-1856) was an exceptional individual – a Fellow of the Royal Society, President of the Royal Geological Society. His interest in geology and palaeontology led him to write the first full account of a fossil dinosaur which he named Megalosarurus. He discovered the Kirkdale cave and concluded that it had been a prehistoric hyena den – for which he was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society. This work was written just prior to his awakening that certain geological structures and fossil remains were a result of glaciation and not the effect of floodwaters from the great deluge. Buckland was a friend of a young Charles Darwin – there must have been some very interesting conversations.

    Important Georgian/ Early Victorian intellectual works by leading academics of the day

    $740.00

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