SPLENDID COLLECTION OF SIX EXQUISITE COSWAY-STYLE PORTRAITS, EACH IN A FINE MOROCCO CASE
BINDING. Collection of six Cosway-style portraits. [possibly Bath: Bayntun-Rivière, circa 1940]. Six miniature watercolor portraits set into custom dark blue straight-grain morocco clamshell cases, blue watered silk doublures. $5800.
Wonderful collection of six Cosway-style portraits of literary luminaries: Wordsworth, Whittier, Longfellow, Burns, Bacon, and Ruskin, housed in handsome matching morocco cases.
Cosway bindings (named for renowned 19th-century English miniaturist Richard Cosway) were first commissioned in the early 1900s by J.H. Stonehouse, managing director of London booksellers Sotheran & Company, from the famous Rivière bindery, who employed Miss C.B. Currie to faithfully imitate Cosway’s detailed watercolor style of portraiture. These delicate miniature paintings, often on ivory, were set into the covers or doublures of richly-tooled bindings and protected by a thin pane of glass. Cosway bindings executed by other than the original collaborators (Stonehouse, Sotheran, Rivière, and Currie) are designated as “Cosway-style” bindings— still splendid productions— by such esteemed binderies as Sangorski & Sutcliffe, Morrell, Bayntun, and Bumpus. Cosway-style paintings rose in popularity in the mid-20th century. These six intricate watercolor portraits of British and American authors represent the exquisite craftsmanship of the foremost binders of that period.