London: T. Bensley for J. Johnson and Co, 1812. Edwards of Halifax Calf Bindings. [FORE–EDGE PAINTING] [EDWARDS OF HALIFAX]
COWPER, William (1731–1800).
London: T. Bensley for J. Johnson and Co., 1812 2 Volumes
Cowpers Poems, 1812. 2 volumes, 8vo (159 x 95 mm). ETRUSCAN CALF BY EDWARDS OF HALIFAX, covers with gilt pentaglyph and metope border, stenciled frame of palmettes, central panel enclosed by a stenciled border, enclosed is a stenciled device of a fan–like shape with tulips on a pointillé background and other geometric shapes, spine in 6 compartments with 5 raised bands, 2 red Morocco lettering–pieces gilt, gilt–tooled in remainder, all edges gilt. Joints expertly repaired, Very Fine examples of Edwards of Halifax bindings with incredible Fore-Edge Painting relating to Cowper.
AN INTERESTING BIT OF BOOKBINDING HISTORY, the tool maker Edwards used was a gentleman named John Paas from Holborn London. The center tool on the covers of these bindings was made by Paas. On one of the many trips Paas was known for making around the UK showing his tools, designs and collecting monies for tools and engraved plates that had been purchased he was traveling from up north probably visiting Edwards on this trip in 1832, on passing down through Leicester he stopped in at a binder called James Cook... Cook believed that Paas would be traveling home with a considerable amount of money and as Paas walked in to Cook’s bindery he was hit several times with an iron laying press pin. Paas only had 50 pounds on him, but now dead Cook spent the next three days trying to dispose of the body in his fireplace.
Cook was captured and ended up historically being the last person in the UK to be Gibbeted.
CONTEMPORARY FORE–EDGE PAINTINGS
Depicting Berkhamsted (Cowper’s birthplaces) and East Dereham Churchyard (Cowper’s burial place).
Full Morocco vertical slipcase gilt–stamped by Sangorski & Sutcliffe for Marshall Field & Co. (some rubbing along edges). Provenance: Presented by Gladys McKenney Molony to the Saint Mary–of–the–Woods College Library (inscription dated 11 November 1986 on verso of title–page), collector of fore–edge paintings.
[Edwards Of Halifax] The craftsmen behind design features that occupy a position of considerable importance in the history of bookbinding, the Edwards of Halifax bindery was founded by William Edwards (1723-1808) and continued by several of his brothers, half-brothers, and sons (by far the most important of the sons being Thomas, who lived from 1762-1834). This famous firm produced a number of important innovations in binding design, the most significant being the idea of concealing a painting under the gilt of the fore edge. This hidden treasure could be revealed, once the edge was fanned out, as a special surprise element of the volumes they bound--typically in Etruscan calf, as here, or in their patented transparent vellum. Although bindings produced by the Edwards workshop are never signed, the present item is such an absolutely characteristic example of Edwards work that Weber cites it in a chapter devoted to distinguishing genuine Edwards bindings from the work of imitators. Especially telling here are the soft-hued colors in the paintings, a feature much less imitated than other aspects of Edwards volumes. While fore-edge paintings likely produced at the Edwards bindery (and especially produced by their imitators) appear in the marketplace with some regularity, most offered are octavo or duodecimo in size. Of the fore-edge paintings attributed to Edwards of Halifax that have appeared in RBH over the past 65 years.
Stunning Bindings and Fore-Edge Paintings rarely seen in this condition and not noted in Fore-Edge Painting reference works. Very Fine. Item #512
Price (USD): $4,500.00