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ENGLISH BOOKBINDINGS ADDED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PRINTED BOOKS 1963 TO 1974 HOWARD M. NIXON

THE most important acquisition of bookbindings during this period has unquestionably been that of the Henry Davis Collection. It is, indeed, far the most important gift of this nature that the Department has ever received, being almost the whole of one of the three great collections of bookbindings made in England during this century, the others being those of Major J.R. Abbey and of the Broxbourne Library formed by Albert Ehrman. Books in Mr. Davis's collection which had been specifically acquired for their importance as texts are destined for the new University of Ulster at Coleraine/ since they are

Fig. I. Binding by Henry Evans, c. 1657. Blue turkey, with red and citron onlays. C.io8.n.7. 160x85x35 mm 181


almost all duplicated in the British Library. But over a thousand decorated bindings of all periods, many of them of outstanding importance, form part of the Davis Gift to the British Library and are available for display and will be available for study at Bloomsbury, although they remain in Mr. Davis's possession during his lifetime. They will not be further discussed in this article, since they have already been the subject of a brief report by Miss Mirjam Romme, now Mrs. Foot,^ who will soon have ready for press a full-dress catalogue, in two volumes. Major J. R. Abbey, who died on Christmas Eve 1969, had disposed of his older bookbindings in a series of notable sales at Sotheby's during his lifetime, but before the first of these he had presented to the Department the book which he knew we coveted most from his collection, the little binding by Henry Evans (fig. i) in dark blue turkey with red and citron onlays of which G.D.Hobson wrote *this is without exception the most exquisite late seventeenth-century English binding that has been reproduced'.^ Purchases of English bindings at or immediately after the first of Major Abbey's sales, which began at Sotheby's on 21 June 1965, included three of the sixteenth century. Nicholas de Orbellis, Super sententias (Paris, 1515) was bound in brown calf blocked in blind with panels of St. George killing the dragon, signed IR, and of the Baptism of Christ.^ These panels, which always occur together and evidently belonged to the London bookseller, John Reynes, are relatively common - Oldham records fifty-two examples - but the only specimen of them in the Library was in poor condition and had the Baptism of Christ panel in a different state. The other two books, both gold-tooled with an interlace painted black, have subsequently been shown to have been decorated with the tools of John de Planche, probably a religious exile from Dijon, who was one of the leading binders in London between 1567 and 1572.5 The first, a folio which contains a Book of Common Prayer of 1566 and a Psalter of 1567, has tooled on the covers: WILLIAM ALYN LORDE MAIOR 1571, and was clearly bound for Sir William Alyn, or Allen, a member of the Mercers' Company, who was Lord Mayor of London in that year (fig. 2).^ Its centrepiece is that found on two bindings in the British Library made for Queen Elizabeth I, which are both signed IDP,' and the lion mask and cornerpieces of Alyn's binding connect it with a large French Bible bound for the Queen in 1567 with her painted portrait and arms, also in the British Library,^ and with a Lycosthenes, bearing the arms of Sir Nicholas Bacon, which was formerly in the library of Mr. Ralph Bankes of Kingston Lacy,^ but is not apparently there any longer. Other De Planche tools are found on the second Abbey binding, an Osorius of 1576, which bears the name THE LADiE RVSSELL, and may possibly have been bound in London by his successor after he had returned to France.'^ The only other binding known from the library of Lady Russell is in the Royal Library at Windsor.'' It has been suggested that she was Elizabeth, the widow of Sir Thomas Hoby, who married John Lord Russell, second son of Francis, second Earl of Bedford. She was one of the exceedingly learned daughters of Sir Anthony Cooke - two of her sisters were respectively the wife of Lord Burleigh and the mother of Francis Bacon - and the Dictionary of National Biography happily reports that 'the ordering of pompous funerals was her delight'. 182


Fig. 2. Binding by John de Planche, 1571. Brown calf, blocked and tooled in gold. C.io8.aaa.3. 303x205x47 mm

Fig. 4. Binding designed by Athenian Stuart, 1762. Red morocco, gold-tooled. C.i6o.ee.2. 585X400x42 mm

Fig. 3. Binding by Roger Bartlett, c. 1685. Red turkey, gold-tooled. C.io8.eee.8. 323 /- 210 x 57 mm

. Binding by Zaehnsdorf, c. 1861. Red morocco, gold-tooled, with onlays of brown, green, and black. C.io8.t.2. 435x330x60 mm


Seventeenth-century acquisitions from this sale included what may be considered the prototype of a modern publisher's binding, which is found on a number of copies of Abraham Darcie's Annales of Elizabeth Queene of England (1625).'^ They are of brown calf, blocked in gold with a panel depicting Queen Elizabeth I, crowned, holding the orb and sceptre, and encircled with clouds. This posthumous portrait was used only on copies of this book, in contrast to the blind-stamped panels in use a century earlier, which often have trade-marks and initials. These were used on books of different kinds retailed by a particular bookseller. They were succeeded by gold-blocked plaques used on small books of devotion. Bibles, and Prayer Books, and a Whole Book of Psalms in metre (1631)'^ purchased after this sale is a late example of a style which was introduced about 1570. It bears the initials E.C. of its first owner. The Library also bought an important document in the history of English binding of the Restoration period. Major Abbey's well-known 'backless' binding,'4 which G.D. Hobson was able to attribute to Richard Bailey on the strength of the statement in Bagford's Notes on Bookbinding among the Harleian MSS. that he 'hath contrived to bind a book that you could not know the fore-edge from the back, both being cut and gilded alike'. Five very similar examples of these bindings are now known, all bound in black with red and citron onlays and decorated with the same tools. They were evidently all bound within a year or two of 1700. Another important binding of this period from the third Abbey sale was a large folio Bible of 1659, bound in black turkey with very elaborate gold tooling in the 'fanfare' style (developed in France about 1575) which clearly comes from the shop of the royal binder Samuel Mearne.'^ It, and its companion 1662 Prayer Book now in the Huntington Library, were given in 1681 to his godson, Devereux Knightley, by Nathaniel Crewe, Bishop of Durham. As Clerk of the Closet to Charles II the Bishop received as his perquisites the books used by the king himself in the Chapel Royal at Whitehall. Those books, however, always have the royal cypher on the covers and the royal arms or cypher painted under the gold on the fore-edge. These two bindings in the fanfare style have the Crucifixion painted on the edges and may perhaps have been used on the altar at the Chapel Royal. Other Restoration bindings added in the period under review include a gold-tooled black turkey example on John Oldham's Works (1687).^^ This subsequently became one of the foundation members of a group now attributed to Elizabeth Dickinson's binder. It has the lozenge-shaped centre, made up of small tools, found on a number of the works of this binder, who was active in the 1680s and from whose shop comes a binding in the Pierpont Morgan Library lettered 'ELIZABETH DICKINSON HER BOOK 1688'. The bindings of Roger Bartlett, who was active between the Great Fire of 1666, after which he left London for Oxford, and 1689, were represented in the Department by only two octavo volumes before a handsome folio specimen was purchased in 1968 (fig.3)It had been sold the year before in the third Abbey sale^' and was illustrated by G.D. Hobson, who first identified Bartlett's work, as no. 40 in English Bindings in the Library

of3. R. Abbey. 184


In 1963 the Library only possessed one specimen in poor condition of the work of the Devotional Binder, so named by G. D. Hobson because so many of his bindings occur on books by the author of the Whole Duty of Man. In that year a beautiful specimen was purchased with the aid of the Friends of the National Libraries.^^ It is on a book by the customary author, usually thought to be Richard Allestree, and has an interesting provenance - the Earl of Orford, Noel F.Barwell, Dr. H.M. Davies, and Mrs. Grace Whitney HofF, Barwell and Davies originally tried to edit the book which finally appeared as Bindings in Cambridge Libraries by G. D. Hobson in 1929. Two further bindings from the same shop, also on Allestree books, were presented in 1974 by Mr. Paul Getty, Jun.'^ All three are in this binder's characteristic style with a number of distinctive versions of common tools of the period including rather plump versions of the drawer-handle. The most distinguished London binder at the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was Robert Steel, who had been apprenticed to Samuel Mearne and probably took over the Mearne binding shop after Charles Mearne's death. One recent accession that may be attributed to him is a quarto by Thomas Greenhill, Nekrokedeia: or the art of embalming (1705), which seems to combine in its design elements of the old 'fanfare' style with a lozenge-shaped centre as used by Steel's apprentice, Thomas Elliott, on his bindings for the Harleian Library in the i72os.^*' Another, also in red turkey, is a more conservative 'cottage-roof binding in beautiful condition on B.Jenks, Prayers and Offices of Devotions (1697).^^

In 1963 Mr. Frank Benger presented two books believed to have been bound by John Brindley, binder to Queen Caroline and to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and founder of the bookselling firm which under the successive names of James Robson, Thomas and William Boone, and F.S.Ellis survived until the 1930s. In 1928 Mr.Benger, with his partner in the firm of Ellis, George Smith, illustrated one of these books in The Oldest London Bookshop, a copy of W.Maitland's The History of London (1739) bound in goldtooled red morocco, with the arms of Frederick, Prince of Wales.^^ It seems questionable, however, whether this book, which was not published by Brindley, was bound in his shop. The binder to the Prince of Wales did not necessarily bind all books presented to him. Brindley's tools are certainly to be found on the other book, which he did publish. This is a copy of the Duke of Newcastle's Methode et invention nouvelle de dresser les chevaux (1737), which has also a fore-edge decorated under the gold with George IPs arms.^^ Brindley seems to have been the only binder between 1720 and 1760 to practise this peculiarly English technique. One other important gap was filled at the first Abbey sale by the purchase of a copy of volume i of James Stuart and Nicholas Revett's The Antiquities of Athens (1762) in the special presentation binding of gold-tooled red morocco with classical ornaments and a central medallion of Athene Parthenos (fig. 4), copied from a pastiche by Stuart on a plan of the Acropolis dated 1753, which was first published in the second volume of the book.^ As the Sotheby's catalogue pointed out, this binding, which must almost certainly have been designed by 'Athenian' Stuart, precedes the well-known presentation bindings on copies of Robert Adam's Ruins of the Palace of the Emperor Diocletian at 185


Spalatro of 1764. Stuart thus produced the first neo-classical binding and not Adam, but they set no immediate fashion and the London binders of the 1770s, under the leadership of John Baumgarten from Hanover, suddenly discovered rococo ornament. The only other strictly neo-classical binding of the 1760s is George Ill's copy of the Strawberry Hill edition of The Life of Lord Herbert of Cherbury?-^ The un-Walpolian nature of this binding is probably accounted for by the fact that Lord Powis, as owner of the manuscript, took part of the edition and probably gave this copy to the king. Although Horace Walpole normally had his books bound rather soberly in brown calf, with his arms blocked in gold, and with green edges, he did possess at least one goldtooled binding in red morocco. When this copy of Sir David Dalrymple's Memorials and Letters relating to the history of Britain in the reign ofJames the First (Glasgow 1762) appeared in the sale room in July 1966, with a note on a fly-leaf in Walpole's hand 'bound by Robiquet',-*^ Mr. Wilmarth S. Lewis graciously conceded that his interest in Walpole's library must give way to ours in a binding by a man known to have been one of the leading binders in London, but of whom nothing else is known except for his work at Holkham. Another book bound in the second half of the eighteenth century was acquired in the same year, the two volumes of Vicesimus Knox's Elegant Extracts {c. 1785). They are in an uncommon style of stained and gold-tooled calf imitating the surface of an inlaid walnut table. At the foot of each of them is a black label reading SHEPPERSON & REYNOLDS. BINDERS. 1789.^'They are listed in Graham Pollard's 1955 edition of TA^ Earliest Directory of the Book Trade (1785) as 'booksellers' at 137 Oxford Street (p. 18), and Charles Ramsden records signed bindings by a T. Reynolds at this address, one of them possibly bound about 1796. In 1805 Thomas Hope, ardent supporter of Neo-classicism, presented to the Royal Institution a copy of the Didot Horace of 1799 bound by Staggemeier & Welcher in blue straight-grain morocco ornamented in gold with lyre and Pegasus tools and with cartouches including Hope's initials. The Department was very pleased to have the opportunity of acquiring such a well-documented and handsome binding, which Dibdin described as the 'ne plus ultra' of Staggemeier's 'bibliopegistic skill', adding that Hope 'gave the binder his plan . . . of book-embeUishment'.^^ Both this and the Stuart and Revett book mentioned above were lent to the Council of Europe exhibition The Age ofNeo-classictsm at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1972.^^ During most of the nineteenth century the leading binding firms were required by their patrons to produce pastiches of early styles, and Zaehnsdorfs, founded in 1842 by a Hungarian who had worked in Stuttgart, Vienna, and Paris before coming to London, did much of their work in the 'Grolier', 'Maioli', 'Mearne', and 'Payne' styles. From time to time, however, an international exhibition would give them an opportunity to produce something of a more modern nature. In 1966 the Wigmore Bindery - with whom they were then incorporated, although they have since resumed their separate identity - presented two fine examples, one on a Dante, VInferno (Paris, 1851), and the other on La Satnte Bible (Tours, 1866).^째 186


r

Fig. 6. Jewelled binding by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, c. 1905. Blue morocco, gold-tooled with onlays of green and red. C.109.P.20. 252 X 162X20 mm

187


At the beginning of the present century the influence of T.J.Cobden-Sanderson began to make itself felt in bookbinding in the same way as William Morris had influenced printing. His pupil and apprentice, Douglas Cockerell, brother of Sir Sydney Cockerell of Fitzwilliam Museum fame, taught at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, and two of his pupils, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe, worked for Cockerell for a year or two before setting up in business together in 1901. One ofthe specialities of their firm in its earlier years was the production of elaborate inlaid bindings decorated with jewels and precious stones, the most famous of which lies at the bottom ofthe Atlantic. It went down on the Titanic with Harry Widener who bought this copy of Fitzgerald's Omar Khayyam in 1912 and was taking it back to the United States. The U.S.A. was the destination of most of Sangorski and Sutcliffe's jewelled bindings - there are a number in the Newberry Library in Chicago - and the Department acquired one (fig. 6) for the first time in 1971.^^ Peacocks were much in evidence on many of these bindings and a finely executed example of such a bird inonlaid leather is found on the covers ofan album (fig. 7) given by Mr. and Mrs. A. Ehrman in 1966 through the Friends ofthe National Libraries. It was bound about 1925 at the Camberwell School of Art by William Ashbee to a design by the instructor. Alec Vaughan, who had himself been a pupil of George SutclifFe.^^ When Albert Ehrman died in 1969, his widow and his son, Mr. John Ehrman, rounded off his benefactions - he liked to give the Museum a present on his birthday every year by presenting through the Friends ofthe National Libraries two bindings in his memory. One of these was an elaborate exhibition binding in oniaid gold-tooled green morocco by Arthur J. Gray of J. P. Gray and Sons of Cambridge, probably bound about 1914." The other will be mentioned in a later article dealing with foreign bindings acquired during this period. The long-established London firm of Kelly & Son developed in the first quarter of the present century what they termed a Kelliegram binding. An example acquired in 1971 on an extra-illustrated Thomson's Seasons (1857) shows a resemblance to the French Jansenist' bindings ofthe late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, having soberly plain green morocco covers with very elaborate oniaid doublures of buff morocco with a design of tulips.^** Thomas Harrison was a well-known twentieth-century teacher and writer on bookbinding in memory of whom a memorial prize competition ran for nearly twenty years up to 1974. Mr. Ellic Howe gave the Department a copy of Harrison's The Bookbinding Craft and Industry bound by the author himself in inlaid brown morocco with a design incorporating the tools ofthe craft.^^ The opportunity has also been taken to add to the Department's holdings of bindings by modern craftsmen and works have been added by the following: Anthony Cains,^^ Jeff Clements,37 S.M.Cockerell,^^ Elizabeth Greenhill,^^ Arthur Johnson,***' Trevor Jones,**' Brian Maggs,'*^ Bernard Middleton,'*^ Ivor Robinson,*^ Faith Shannon,**5 Sally Lou Smith,4^ C.Philip Smith,**' and the late H.J.D.Yardley.*^ Some of these were presented by Mr. Anthony Fair, and some others bought to acknowledge the services given by the binders to the British effort to restore the books damaged in the Biblioteca 188


Fig. y. Peacock binding designed by Alec Vaughan, c. 1925. Blue morocco, gold-tooled with onlays of green, brown, and red. C.108.V.1. 250x380x33 mm

Nazionale, Florence, in the disastrous flood of 4 November 1966 - an effort organized under Mr. Peter Waters by the British Museum through the Italian Art and Archives Rescue Fund, and in which members of the staff of H.M.S.O. Bindery at Bloomsbury played a very important part.'^^ A special binding produced in that Bindery in 1973 was sewn by Helen Watkins, forwarded and bound by Keith Champ, and finished by Colin Clark.50

1 H. A. Feisenberger, 'The Henry Davis Collecbinder's shop. Cf. H. M. Nixon, English Restoration, II, the Ulster Gift*, Book Collector, Autumn tion Bookbindings (1974), p. 28, no. 47. 4 Lot 524; now C.io8.ppp.8. The panels are J.B. 1972, pp. 339-55Oldham, Blind Panels of English Binders (Cam2 Mirjam M. Romme, 'The Henry Davis Collecbridge, 1958), ST. 19 and BIB. 17. tion, I, the British Museum Gift', Ibid., Spring 5 H. M. Nixon, 'Elizabethan Gold-tooled Bind1969, pp. 23-44, pi. i-xii. ings', Essays in honour of Victor Scholderer 3 English Bindings in the Library of J.R. Abbey (Mainz, 1970), pp. 243-53 i "os. 7 and 11 on the (i94o),p.5o.SinceHobsonwroteithasbeenestablist on p. 246. lished that Henry Evans whose name appears on 6 Lot 211; now C. io8.aaa.3. G. D. Hobson, English the fore-edge of this binding (C. 108.n.7) owned a 189


7

8 9 10 11

12 13 14

15

16 17 18

19

20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Bindings in the Library ofJ.R.Ahhey (1940), no, 15. Minor repairs to the corners of the boards carried out in the H.M.S.O. bindery at the British Library have greatly improved the appearance of this book. C.iS.b.ii and 675.f.r6. W.Y.Fletcher, English Bookbindings in the British Museum (1895), pis. XX and XXI. C.23.e.10. Cyril Davenport, Royal English Bookbindings (i8q6),fig.12. Burlington Fine Arts Club, Exhibition of Bookbindings {iSgj), pi. CXI. Lot 526; now C.io8.ff.iQ. Sir R. R. Holmes, Specimens of Bookbinding from the Royal Library, Windsor Castle (1893), pi. 96. It was bound by the MacDurnan Gospels binder. Lot 244; now C.io8.pp.6. Lot 571; now C.108.P.4. Cf. H. M. Nixon, Broxbourne Library (1956), pp. 118-20. Lot 218; now C.io8.d.35. G.D.Hobson, English Bindings in the Library of J. R. Abbey (1940), no. 61. H.M.Nixon, English Restoration Bookbindings (1974), no. 108. Sotheby's, 19-21 June 1967,^ 1682; now C.io8.tt.6. English Restoration Bookbindings, no. 27. C.130.a.28. English Restoration Bookbindings, no. 95. Lot 1770; now C.io8.eee.8. T. Comber, A Companion to the Temple (1684). The Government of the Tongue (Oxford, 1667), C.io8.d.32. English Restoration Bookbindings, no. 85. Bibliotheque de Madame Whitney Hoff (Paris, 1933), no. 214, pl.LXXI. The Art of Contentment (Oxford, 1675); The Gentleman's Calling (London, 1676); C.i75.m.i7(i, 2). C.iog.f. 12. English Restoration Bookbindings, no. 39. C.io8.n.i6. It was not included in the English Restoration Bookbindings exhibition. C.io8.m.7. C.io8.t.i. a. Book Collector, Winter 1962, p. 466. Sotheby's, 21-3 June 1965,6^7; now C. i6o.ee.2. Book Collector, Winter 1965, p. 538. British Library, 132.C.2. Ibid., Spring 1953, p. 66. Christie's, 15 June 1966, 66; now C.io8.ppp.4. Cf.W.O.Hassall, 'Portrait of a Bibliophile: 11.

27 28 29 30 31

Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester', Book Collector^ Autumn 1959, pp. 255-6. C.io8.g.26, 27. Cf. Ibid-, Autumn 1970, p. 356. C.180.CC.4. T.F.Dibdin, Bibliographical Decameron, \\ {1817), p. 205. The catalogue incorrectly stated that they were in the Royal Academy section of the exhibition. C.io8.t.2; C.io8.t.3. C.109.p.20; E.Spenser, Epithalamion (1903).

32 C.108.V.1.

33 C.108.X.10; W. A. Clouston, ed., A Group of Eastern Romances (1889). 34 C.108.U.26. 35 C.io8.n.i4. In 1975 Designer Bookbinders took over the award of these prizes. 36 C.io8.eee.4; E.S.Miers, The American Civil War (1961). 37 C.I09.1.22; G.R.Hamilton, The Latin Portrait (1929). 38 C.io8.y.5; Holy Bible (Nonesuch Press, 1963), 3 vols. 39 C.io8.ee.7; J.Maritain, Patriarch Tree (1965). C.109.P.15; A. Miller, After the Fall (1^64). 40 C.io8.y.i; Brendan Behan's New York (New York, 1964). C. 108.n. II.(1-4); P.A.Renoir, Nudes (1959) and three other small volumes. C.io8.gg.35; J. Russell, G.5ra^ae (1959). 41 C.108.W.4; H.E. Bates, Through the Woods (1936). 42 C.108.W.5; J. Gay, Trivia {n^6g). 43 C.io8.d.39; B. C. Middleton, History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique (1963). C.i6o.c.i7; H.M.Nixon, Twelve Books (1953)44 C. io8.m.6; W. Shakespeare, Macbeth (Paris, (1958). C.108.W.6; Revelation of Saint John the Divine (Oxford, 1969). 45 C. ro9.p.i4; C. A. G.Bertram, Paul Nash (1955). 46 C.io8.d.38; C. Perrault, Contes de ma Mere TOie (1959); C.io8.y.3; F.Scott Fitzgerald, Crack-up (New York, 1945). 47 C. I o8.d.4O; Plotinus, The Enneads (1962). C.io8.eee.ii; Homer, IUiad (^ Odyssey {1931)C. 108.pp.8; F. le Lionnais, Time (1963). C. 108.pp.9; E. Lalou, The Sun (1963). 48 C.io8.y.4; A.M.Moorehead, Churchill (lgto). C.109.P.18; W.Blake, Pencil Drawings (1927). C.io8.k.i3; S.Morison, The Typographic Arts (1949). 49 Book Collector, Spring 1967, pp. 29-35. 50 C. 109.p.2. R. Ponchon, Fantaisies et morahtes (Paris, 1935).

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ENGLISH BOOKBINDINGS ADDED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PRINTED BOOKS