Lot 4: (ASHENDENE PRESS.) Malory, Sir Thomas; translator. The Noble and Joyous Book entytled Le Morte d''Arthur.

Swann Auction Galleries

December 1, 2016, 1:30 PM EST
New York, NY, US
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Description: (ASHENDENE PRESS.) Malory, Sir Thomas; translator. The Noble and Joyous Book entytled Le Morte d''Arthur. 29 woodcuts: 2 are full-page, 26 by Charles M. Gere, 3 by Margaret Gere; Initials by Graily Hewitt in red and blue; headings to the chapters and shoulder notes in red. Subiaco type on specially-made Batchelor Ashendene handmade paper with watermark bearing the Knight in Armor. Folio, original crushed brown cowhide by W. H. Smith & Son after Douglas Cockerell, spine in 6 compartments with 5 raised bands, gilt-lettered in the top two compartments, imprint at foot; gilt-ruled turn-ins and board edges, with Smith monogram stamped at bottom edge of rear turn-in, bands, edges, and hinges heavily rubbed with surface loss, hinges starting, vertical crease emanating from foot of spine; preliminaries browned as usual from turn-ins, all edges uncut. Original prospectus and order form (the latter stamped by Maggs Bros.) laid in; worn custom wooden box. Chelsea: Printed by John Hornby, 1913
Notes: one of 145 unnumbered copies on paper from the total edition of 153 (8 were on vellum). The text follows the edition of William Caxton. This work and the 1895 La Vita Buova di Dante, also illustrated by Gere, are considered the two major pre-war Ashendene books. "The Morte d''Arthur is a glorious piece of printing . . . the presswork is miraculous"--Sydney Cockerell in a letter to John Hornby 12 October 1913, reprinted in Franklin, page 107, cf: 238-39; Hornby 26.
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