12 June 2013
THE PROPERTY OF LORD HAMBLEDEN
ASHENDENE PRESS -- DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321). Tutte le Opere de Dante Alighieri Fiorentino. Chelsea, London: Ashendene Press, 1909.
2° (415 x 285mm). Printed in double columns, in Subiaco type, headings and shoulder notes in red, large initials in red designed by Graily Hewitt, full-page woodcut frontispiece and 8 text woodcuts by W. H. Hooper after Charles M. Gere. Original russet morocco-backed oak boards by W.H. Smith and Son, with their stamp, after a design by Douglas Cockerell, the side leather with an interlocking strapwork design in blind punctuated by gilt dots, spine lettered in gilt, braided leather clasps and metal catches (light spotting on the spine, flyleaves with the usual browning from the oak boards, light spotting to edges). Provenance: William Henry Smith, 3rd Viscount Hambleden (1903-1948, bookplate).
THE W.H. SMITH COPY OF ONE OF THE THREE GREATEST FINE-PRESS BOOKS, alongside the Doves Bible and the Kelmscott Chaucer (Hornby). Limited to 111 copies, this is one of 105 on paper. 'This volume was by far the most ambitious effort of the Press to date and took three years to complete' (Hornby). Douglas Cockerell managed the W. H. Smith & Son bindery from 1905 to 1914. He later stated that all of the bindings signed with the 'WHS' stamp during those years were specially designed by him (cf. Hobson, English Bindings of J. R. Abbey, p. 170): these included most of the Ashendene imprints of that period. Tomkinson, p. 6; Hornby XXIV.
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