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FRYE, BARTHOLOMEW, binder. AESOP. The Fables... With a Life of the Author. London: Printed for John Stockdale 1793. 2 vols., large 8vo, 265 x 164 mm. (10 7/16 x 6 3/8 in.), contemporary crimson straight-grained morocco, each cover with outer gilt Greek key border on a band of inlaid green morocco, small gilt fleurons at corners, inner gilt-ruled panel with fan ornaments at corners enclosing an OVAL PENCIL AND WATERCOLOR DRAWING OF A CLASSICAL FIGURE on paper covered with transparent vellum (123 x 69 mm.) inset and framed with small gilt tools, spines gilt and gilt-lettered in six compartments with five double raised bands and 12 onlaid and gilt green morocco strips, turn-ins gilt, g.e., WITH FORE-EDGE PAINTINGS OF THE DEATH OF AESOP and HADRIAN'S TOMB, original green endpapers, some rubbing to spines, joints and extremities, corners bumped, upper inner hinges cracked, matching contemporary red morocco gilt slipcases (worn, old repairs), modern cloth folding case, offsetting from plates, scattered foxing, plate to Fable 35 creased. Fourteen bindings are known by Bartholomew Frye, a binder of German origin known to have been active from 1816 to 1824, who is believed to have worked for Edwards of Halifax before establishing his own shop in Liverpool circa 1824. Eleven of his bindings are signed, all but two are in straight-grained morocco, most have fore-edge paintings, and eight are decorated like this one with inlaid Edwards of Halifax-style drawings or watercolors under transparent vellum. The present binding from the Abbey collection, probably executed c. 1810, is Frye's "best-known binding" (Maggs cat. 1075, part II, 254, judging his fore-edge paintings to be "perhaps the finest produced at this period"). The last comparable Frye binding to appear at auction, a very similar binding on the same edition, was part of the Estelle Doheny Collection (part III, 1-2 February 1988, lot 620, $8500, Maggs). Cf. Mirjam Foot, "A Binding by Bartholomew Frye, c. 1820" in Studies in the History of Bookbinding (London 1993); G. D. Hobson, English Bindings ...of J. R. Abbey, 101. Provenance: John Roland Abbey, bookplate (sale, Sotheby's, 19 June 1967, lot 1597, 800, Dolphin Book Company). (2)

Details
FRYE, BARTHOLOMEW, binder. AESOP. The Fables... With a Life of the Author. London: Printed for John Stockdale 1793. 2 vols., large 8vo, 265 x 164 mm. (10 7/16 x 6 3/8 in.), contemporary crimson straight-grained morocco, each cover with outer gilt Greek key border on a band of inlaid green morocco, small gilt fleurons at corners, inner gilt-ruled panel with fan ornaments at corners enclosing an OVAL PENCIL AND WATERCOLOR DRAWING OF A CLASSICAL FIGURE on paper covered with transparent vellum (123 x 69 mm.) inset and framed with small gilt tools, spines gilt and gilt-lettered in six compartments with five double raised bands and 12 onlaid and gilt green morocco strips, turn-ins gilt, g.e., WITH FORE-EDGE PAINTINGS OF THE DEATH OF AESOP and HADRIAN'S TOMB, original green endpapers, some rubbing to spines, joints and extremities, corners bumped, upper inner hinges cracked, matching contemporary red morocco gilt slipcases (worn, old repairs), modern cloth folding case, offsetting from plates, scattered foxing, plate to Fable 35 creased.

Fourteen bindings are known by Bartholomew Frye, a binder of German origin known to have been active from 1816 to 1824, who is believed to have worked for Edwards of Halifax before establishing his own shop in Liverpool circa 1824. Eleven of his bindings are signed, all but two are in straight-grained morocco, most have fore-edge paintings, and eight are decorated like this one with inlaid Edwards of Halifax-style drawings or watercolors under transparent vellum. The present binding from the Abbey collection, probably executed c. 1810, is Frye's "best-known binding" (Maggs cat. 1075, part II, 254, judging his fore-edge paintings to be "perhaps the finest produced at this period"). The last comparable Frye binding to appear at auction, a very similar binding on the same edition, was part of the Estelle Doheny Collection (part III, 1-2 February 1988, lot 620, $8500, Maggs). Cf. Mirjam Foot, "A Binding by Bartholomew Frye, c. 1820" in Studies in the History of Bookbinding (London 1993); G. D. Hobson, English Bindings ...of J. R. Abbey, 101.

Provenance: John Roland Abbey, bookplate (sale, Sotheby's, 19 June 1967, lot 1597, 800, Dolphin Book Company). (2)
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