11 - 13 July 2000
THE ESSEX HOUSE PRESS--[Charles Robert and Janet E. ASHBEE (compilers). The Essex House Song Book. London: 1903-1905.] 8 bifolia, 4° (226 x 171mm), loose as issued, comprising: part I, pp.5-16; part III, pp.1-8; part IX, pp.1-4 and 13-16; and part X, pp.5-8. PRINTED ON VELLUM in red and black. 2 woodcut initials and music. Contained in later cloth box titled in gilt on the spine. EACH SHEET ONE OF 5 ON VELLUM.
C.R. and J.E. ASHBEE (compilers). The Essex House Song Book. London: 1903-1905. 10 parts bound in 2 volumes, 4° (230 x 170mm). Printed in red and black. Woodcut illustrations, initials and music. Contemporary crushed dark-green morocco, the spines divided in 6 compartments and titled in gilt (spines faded, extremities lightly rubbed). LIMITED TO 205 COPIES, THIS NUMBER 37 OF 200 ON PAPER.
The Essex House Song Book was 'a typical Ashbee production, racy, eclectic, a little self-conscious, practical--if the songs were not sung it lost its point--and traditional in a special sense; the history of English song quarried, not with scholarly detachment, but with an eager sense of its modern value, its idealism' (A. Crawford C.R. Ashbee (New Haven and London: 1985), p.121). The work was originally issued in bifolia of 4 pages, each priced at 1s (paper) or 5s (vellum) and bearing a song in a portable, cheap and popular format that would sit easily on a music stand, and the sheets were intended either to form 10 portfolios or to be bound up. Ransom p.268; Tomkinson p.75. (3)
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