WORDSWORTH'S POEMS, SPLENDIDLY BOUND IN FULL MOROCCO-GILT WITH BEAUTIFUL AND SCARCE FORE-EDGE PAINTING FEATURING WORDSWORTH, RYDAL MOUNT AND BOLTON PRIORY
WORDSWORTH, William. The Poems… A New Edition. London: Edward Moxon, 1854. Royal octavo, contemporary full red morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, raised bands, all edges gilt, fore-edge painting. $2000.
Later edition of Wordsworth's poems, with steel-engraved frontispiece portrait and vignette title page, beautifully bound in full morocco-gilt with a fore-edge painting depicting the poet, his home Rydal Mount, and the Bolton Priory in Yorkshire.
"Wordsworth maintains his position, in general critical esteem, among the most eminent of the English line, many placing him third after Shakespeare and Milton" (Kunitz & Haycraft, 671). Includes such classic verse as "Tintern Abbey," "Intimations of Immortality" and The Prelude. "Although marking the fore-edge of a book had been done for centuries, it is often thought the development of the hidden fore-edge painting began in the mid-17th century by London bookbinders Stephen and Thomas Lewis. It grew more renowned under the auspices of King Charles II's royal bookbinder… The popularization of the art form, however, is most closely associated with Edwards of Halifax, an 18th to early 19th-century bookbinding family located in Pall Mall, London. Bookbinders like Edwards of Halifax hired artists to paint scenes on the edges. These artists would use watercolor, and then the edges were typically decorated in gilt… There is nothing quite like seeing a fore-edge painting seemingly appear out of nowhere" (New York Public Library). Fore-edge paintings continued to be produced well into the 20th century. This volume was presented as a prize to a student of the Launceston Grammar School in 1857, with presentation bookplate affixed to the front pastedown.
Slight foxing to frontispiece and vignette title page only, text clean. A beautiful volume in fine condition.