Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

RACKHAM, Arthur / BARRIE, J.M.

MAGNIFICENT VELLUCENT BINDING BY CEDRIC CHIVERS

RACKHAM, Arthur Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

Hodder & Stoughton, 1906.

First edition. 4to. Finely bound by Cedric Chivers, c.1906, stamp signed to rear turn in. Full brown morocco, with five inlaid vellucent panels, containing miniature watercolours reproducing Rackham's imagery painted on vellum. A central vellucent panel depicts Peter Pan sitting in a branch, taken from illustration number 19, "Preposterus cried Soloman in a rage". Four further vellucent medallions to the corners depict hand painted animal characters from the story. The upper cover is further decorated with an Art Nouveau design in gilt and two circular green morocco onlays, accentuated by gilt punched dots. The smooth spine is decorated with Art Nouveau gilt decoration and circular amber morocco onlay. Single line gilt border on covers and a heart-shaped gilt design to the rear. Gilt ruled turn-ins and patterned endpapers. All edges gilt. Printed map of Kensington Gardens, plus colour frontis and 49 colour plates by Arthur Rackham. Each plate is mounted onto brown art paper and protected by a captioned tissue guard. Apart from the frontis all plates are grouped together after the text. A fine example of one of Cedric Chivers' magnificent beautiful bindings and as luxurious a copy of Peter Pan as one could hope to encounter.

The combination of Cedric Chivers' binding at its best, J.M. Barrie's iconic story and Arthur Rackham's magnum opus create a truly remarkable book.
Cedric Chivers introduced these "vellucent" style bindings in order to assist the production of beautiful hand painted watercolour bindings, which prior to this point had been subject to damage, smudging and wear.
The new process involved painting an image in ink and watercolour on paper and then a thin layer of stretched vellum was laid over the illustration and sealed, thus protecting the painting. Gilt decoration, lettering and borders were then embossed onto the covers.
Chivers described the process thus,
"...The designs were first painted or drawn in colours with as full a palette or as subdued a richness of colouring as the artist chose to employ. Various iridescent materials and precious metals, pared to the thinness of paper or even of gold leaf, according to the fancy of the designer, were often introduced to enhance the richness of the scheme; mother-o'-pearl, shell, beetles' wings, these and other beautiful materials were utilized in the carrying out of the designs with the greatest felicity of effect. The transparent vellum was then laid upon the surface of the painting and the two pressed together till they became indisseverable. Gold tooling was now superimposed upon the surface of the subcutaneous colouring, often with results surprising in their richness and beauty. Indeed, the vellum itself, though of perfect transparency, has, from its delicate warmth of hue, the quality of rendering luminous and reconciling colours otherwise difficult to combine harmoniously in juxtaposition, its appearance being that of a beautiful enamel-like glaze. The whole field of colour, of iridescence, is thus open to the artist who elects to decorate books bound in 'Vellucent.'" (Chivers books in Beautiful Bindings).
Most Vellucent bindings were designed by H. Granville Fell with the paintings done by one of a group of 5 women, Dorothy Carleton Smyth, Alice Shepherd, Miss J.D. Dunn, Muriel Taylor, and Agatha Gales. In many cases the name of the artist is not advertised.
Bindings were offered in very small numbers due to the workmanship involved and the high cost of the books.

Stock ID: 39777

£6,500.00

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