The Lay of the Little Bird. Eugene Mason, Sidney Farnsworth, illuminator.
The Lay of the Little Bird
The Lay of the Little Bird
The Lay of the Little Bird

The Lay of the Little Bird


London (1910)
Farnsworth, Sidney [Illuminator]

Illuminated Manuscript on Vellum [Sangorski & Sutcliffe]

A strikingly attractive example of modern illumination by the inestimable Sidney Farnsworth. Quarto (9 X 7 inches). Translated from the French by Eugene Mason. Beautifully engrossed on 10 leaves of vellum and adorned with one hand-painted pictorial miniature forming part of the opening letter “O”, an elaborate painted design surrounding the title and 13 beautifully executed illuminated initials and fine calligraphy throughout. All heightened in gilt. Full brown crushed levant morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (gilt signed on front turn-in), front with nine gilt rules enclosing the title in gilt and four floral corner pieces, each with an onlaid green morocco center, spine with gilt panels and lettering, gilt fillet board edges and turn-ins blue silk doublures and endpapers. Professionally rebacked retaining the original spine. A lovely example. Housed in a silk lined ½ blue Morocco clamshell box.
Last seen at auction in 1937 (Anderson Galleries: The Splendid Library Formed by the Late J. Horace Harding). 

Sidney Farnsworth was a British painter, sculptor and book artist. He is mainly remembered for his classic work on the subject of illumination – “Illumination and its Development in the Present Day”. He was quite successful as an illuminator and accepted consignments from both Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Riviere and Sons. The colophon reads; This book written out by me Sidney Farnsworth was finished on the 17th day of December, Anno Domini 1910. Just two months prior he had completed another illuminated manuscript, Gray’s Elegy (now at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington). 
Tyrwhitt defines a “Lay” to be ‘a species of serious narrative poetry, of a moderate length, in a simple style and light metre’. There is some historical evidence that traditionally Lays were sung. . Item #292

Price (USD): $14,250.00