The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare

SHAKESPEARE, William

SHAKESPEARE, William The Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare

William White, 1852.

The Lansdowne Shakespeare. 8vo. In a fine publisher's binding of full crushed green morocco, with six gilt-ruled and roll-tooled borders to each cover incorporating Greek and floral motifs. The spine decorated with six gilt compartments, five raised bands and gilt italic lettering. Three gilt inner dentelle borders and marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. The elaborate and decorative original gilt wrappers bound in. Housed in the original chemise of red morocco, yapp edges, with gilt-ruled olive labels to each cover bearing the name Henry White. Tipped into the first three leaves are short autograph letters, two by the Harvard book collector Edward Everett and one by the Countess Granville, relating to the book and its publisher. Frontispiece portrait of Shakespeare after Droeshout. A perfectly preserved mid-nineteenth century publisher's binding, in fine condition. A little wear to the chemise, with one inner flap loose.

An exceptionally well-preserved example of a Victorian publisher's binding of the highest luxury.
The Lansdowne Shakespeare was an elegant and popular edition of the plays, whose publisher and editor William White said was "produced expressly to develop more clearly in reading that has ever before been accomplished, the proverbial philosophy, wit, wisdom, and genius of this 'mightiest of intellectual painters.' This effect has been produced by a new arrangement of the text, and a unique and beautiful style of printing in colours, thereby throwing out every passage in a bold relief, and disencumbering the memory of all abridgements. As an intellectual gift-book this volume possesses peculiar charms" (Advertisement in the Morning Chronicle, April 27th 1852).
In the same advertisement, White noted that the book was "kept also bound, calf extra, gilt leaves" for 21 shillings, or in "morocco or russia" for 25 shillings.
A comparison between this and other copies in green morocco publisher's bindings, such as the copy presented by Spottiswoode (who printed the book) to Eyre, shows that this is much more lavishly decorated than normal. Where that example had three gilt borders to the covers, this has six, and while that had plain endpapers, these are marbled, to say nothing of the exquisite state of preservation in this copy afforded by the original chemise. The survival of publisher's bindings of the period in such unmolested condition is most uncommon.

PROVENANCE: The copy of one Henry White with his ownership inscription to the front free endpaper verso, "Henry White, Jany. 1852".

Stock ID: 39917

£3,000.00

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