“THIS WAS THE NOBLEST ROMAN OF THEM ALL”: THE LOVELY DOVES PRESS JULIUS CAESAR
(DOVES PRESS) SHAKESPEARE. The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. (Hammersmith: Doves Press, 1913). Quarto, original full red morocco gilt, raised bands, all edges gilt. $4000.
Limited private press edition of Shakespeare’s great tragedy, reprinting the text of the First Folio edition of 1623, one of 200 copies on paper (total printing of only 212), bound by Cobden-Sanderson at the Doves Bindery.
Cobden-Sanderson took up bookbinding at the urging of William Morris' wife and learned his craft under Roger de Coverley. In 1893 he set up the Doves Bindery, employing a group of skilled craftsmen from the Zaehnsdorf and Rivière binderies to interpret his designs (including Douglas Cockerell and Charles Macleish). In 1900 Cobden-Sanderson expanded into printing by establishing with Emery Walker the Doves Press—most famous for its "Doves Bible," issued in five folio volumes in 1903. When the doors of the press closed in 1913, all the punches, matrices and type were cast off the Hammersmith Bridge into the Thames, to remain "untouched for other use" (Ransom, 59). "Completely without ornament or illustration, [the Doves books] depended for their beauty almost entirely upon the clarity of the type, the excellence of the layout, and the perfection of the presswork" (Cave, 147). Finely printed in red and black. Issued simultaneously with 12 copies on vellum. Ransom, Doves 36.
Interior clean, slight rubbing to spine head. About-fine condition.