Book Description

Folio. Handsomely bound in early twentieth-century quarter vellum over oak boards in the style of Douglas Cockerell, with Celtic knot decoration in the Arts and Crafts taste tooled in blind to the vellum on the upper and lower boards. The spine with five raised bands and titles in gilt. Original white metal clasps to the upper board and braided vellum ties to the lower board (now defective). Tooled vellum turn-ins. All edges gilt. The pages comprising the textblock have been slightly shuffled by the binder so as to create the look of being untrimmed. The contents complete, although bound somewhat idiosyncratically, beginning with the half title, contents, list of illustrations, and lxiipp. life of John Milton and introduction, prior to the first plate and the title page, which are then followed by the text itself (329pp.). The life of Milton and the introduction are misbound within themselves as i-xx, liii-lxii, xlv-lii, xxi-xliv. Four leaves of laid paper bound in as endpapers at both the front and rear. Title page printed in red and black. Illustrated with 50 full-page wood engraved plates, each with a captioned tissue-guard. A very good copy, the binding firm with a few faint old water marks to the upper board and some scuffs to the spine. The contents with tanning to the endpapers, a small splash mark to the head of the half title and first contents page, a 5cm tear to the fore-edge of the first plate, an 8cm tear to the foot of plate 29 and two smaller marginal tears, each with an old paper repair verso, a 6cm tear to the foot of plate 41, repaired verso, and some scattered foxing are otherwise in very good order.
Dealer Notes
A beautiful copy of the French artist and illustrator Gustave Doré’s majestic edition of Milton’s epic poem (first published in 1866), splendidly bound in vellum and oak with Celtic Arts and Crafts Movement decoration, very much in the style of the renowned bookbinder Douglas Cockerell (1870-1945).
The binding was potentially executed under the direction of Cockerell at the W. H. Smith bindery, or else by one of his students, as it very closely resembles his binding design for the celebrated Ashendene Press Dante (1909), as well as other individual commissions he undertook (see, for example, an incunable Lives of the Saints by Plutarch from 1478 in another comparable binding by Cockerell, held by the Derbyshire Record Office (D5424/1)).
An unusual and most appealing copy.
Author MILTON, John; illustrated by DORÉ, Gustave; edited by VAUGHAN, Robert; [binding in the manner of COCKERELL, Douglas]:
Date 1882
Publisher London: Cassell, Petter, Galpin & Co.

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