The English Bible

containing the Old Testament & the New. Translated out of the original tongues by special command of His Majesty King James the First and now reprinted with the text revised by a collation of its early and other principal editions and edited by the late R

[DOVES PRESS]

[DOVES PRESS] The English Bible containing the Old Testament & the New. Translated out of the original tongues by special command of His Majesty King James the First and now reprinted with the text revised by a collation of its early and other principal editions and edited by the late R

The Doves Press, 1903.

First edition thus, one of 500 sets. Five volumes, large quarto. This set, one of a small number of copies specially bound by the Doves Bindery to a design by Cobden Sanderson of full red niger with raised bands to the spine and gilt interlaced strapwork lozenge design to sections. Large geometrical strapwork design to both covers with six semicircular indented curves, interlaced with two horizontal strapwork lozenges, with tudor rose motifs tooled to the corners of each element of the design, in turn interlaced with a large central double lined strapwork circle, itself tooled all round with tudor rose motif. All edges gilt with gauffered borders. Gilt ruled turn-ins with leaf design to the outer corners, signed "19 C-S 05" to rear turn-in. Doves type printed in black with red initial letters by Edward Johnston, on handmade paper. A near fine set with a little light wear to the extremities and rubs to the bottom corners of vols I and V. Internally, mostly fresh with some foxing to the prelims of vol I. Housed in quarter morocco boxes by Brockman.

The masterpiece of the Doves Press, famous for its austerely dramatic incipit with Johnston's single elongated initial "I", epitomising the understated elegance and restrained style of the Press. Established in 1900 by T. J. Cobden-Sanderson, who left his career as a barrister to open the Doves Bindery in 1884, he became interested in all aspects of book design, writing in 1892 that "I must, before I die, create the type for today of 'The Book Beautiful', and actualize it – paper, ink, writing, printing, ornament and binding. I will learn to write, to print and to decorate". Though an admirer of William Morris, he felt that the Gothic Kelmscott designs, with thickly foliated borders, ornamental bindings, and woodcut illustrations, were excessive. Instead, he worked with the printer Emery Walker to develop a refined type based on those of 15th-century Italian masters Nicholas Jenson and Jacobus Rubeus. Their partnership was dissolved in 1908, and in 1916 Cobden-Sanderson threw the Doves typeface into the Thames, thus concluding the bitter dispute between him and his partner over the rights to the Doves Type.
From about 1907, Cobden-Sanderson would encourage subscribers to the Dovers Press to have their books bound, plainly or elaborately, in morocco by the Doves Bindery. A few copies of the Doves Bible are recorded similarly bound, either by forward thinking subscribers or by Cobden-Sanderson for promotion or personal use. This design, one of several recorded by Tidcombe, would appear to be among the earliest, being the only one recorded as being dated 1905 with at least one copy also found dated 1906. There is a similar design, also dated 1906, but with plain covers. Four other designs, presumably commissioned after the fact and dated as late as 1921 are also recorded.
The infrequent occurrence of these bindings on the Doves Bible in commerce, suggest that very few were produced. The last example to appear at auction (exactly matching this set in design) was the Garden copy in 1989 (which made $29,700).

PROVENANCE: John Gribbel (1858-1936, American industrialist and book collector, bookplate to pastdown of vol I); sold at his sale in 1940.

Tomkinson 6, Titcombe Doves Bindery 624 (dated 1906).

Stock ID: 44939

£75,000.00

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