HOBSON, Geoffrey Dudley (1882-1949). Thirty Bindings, selected from the First Edition Club's seventh exhibition, held at 25 Park Lane, by permission of Sir Philip Sassoon, Bart. London: The First Edition Club, 1926.
Large 4o (317 x 245 mm). LIMITED EDITION OF 600 COPIES, this one unnumbered. 30 plates including 17 in color.
FINE MOSAIC ART-DECO BINDING COMMISSIONED BY THE AUTHOR FROM SYBIL PYE, signed and dated 1944 [Newick, Sussex]: gold-tooled russet morocco inlaid with black morocco, spine gilt-lettered and tooled in compartments, wide turn-ins gilt, edges uncut. Cloth folding case. Provenance: G.D. Hobson; with two autograph letters signed by the binder to the author (26th and 31st January 1944): "I am indeed pleased that you like the binding. I enjoyed it myself, and felt it had come off well ... in fact it gave me quite a pang to part with it... The pricing of such work is difficult, because I spend so much time working out my designs."
THE AUTHOR'S OWN COPY in a beautifully designed binding of wonderful color by Sybil Pye, for which she charged him £15 and which she called "probably one of the best I have done." Loosely inserted is an original pen-and-ink drawing on thin paper by Charles Ricketts, showing designs for twelve binding tools, inscribed on the backing board: "Given me by Charles Ricketts 7.X.28 H.W. Bell (Designs for binding-tools)". Ricketts designed tools for his own bindings, but also gave a number of them to Sybil Pye for her use; one stylized leaf-tool in the drawing is employed on the present binding.
Thirty Bindings was Hobson's first monograph, which investigates and reproduces historical bookbindings of various periods. He "immeasurably advanced the study and the knowledge of historic bookbindings through a series of splendid publications... He developed a method which combined historical research with the autopsy of the holdings of permanent and private collections, and the close study of the tools employed on signed bindings which allowed him to assign those unsigned, but with identical tools, to the binders who had produced them. If the name of the binder was not known, he invented a descriptive sobriquet for him" (BBB Wittockiana 53). See also Breslauer, Bookbinding Literature pp. 25 and 28. BBB Wittockiana 56.