[Risbury, Herfordshire]: Printed Privately [by the Whittington Press], . Weisseborn, Hellmuth. Limited Edition. Leather bound. One of 15 deluxe copies, quarto size, 47 pp., with signature and chop of Masatsugu Ohtake, with an extra suite of plates. Fine. Item #20012401
Two friends, a world apart, with a mutual interest in and appreciation for the poetry of Edward Thomas, have left us the great gift of this utterly charming work.
Philip Edward Thomas (1878-1917) was already an accomplished novelist and essayist when he turned to poetry. In 1915, at the age of 37, he enlisted in the British Army to fight in "The Great War" and was tragically killed in battle two years later during the Battle of Arras.
His youngest daughter, Myfanwy, receiving a letter in 1984 from a Mr. Masatsugu Ohtake who was an admirer of Thomas's work, responded and the two began a correspondence that would last for almost 20 years, as her last letter is dated November 28, 2003.
Published privately by the Whittington Press, who is renowned for their superb printing and binding; this one of fifteen deluxe copies bound in full Nigerian goatskin by The Fine Book Bindery, with endpapers marbled by Christopher Rowlatt, printed on Kozo hand-made paper for Masatsugu Ohtake by Patrick Randle, with engravings by Hellmuth Weissenborn, with errata slip loosely laid in at p. 26, with a signature and chop at the colophon which (one presumes) is that of Masatsugu Ohtake.
The twenty wood-engravings by Hellmuth Weissenborn (1898-1982) perfectly complement Myfanwy's description of the lovely English countryside around her which she frequently described to Ohtake; presented in the book in yellow and green, and as monochrome in the extra suite of 20 loose plates.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full gold Nigerian goatskin with gilt lettering on the spine, fore- and bottom edges uncut, endpapers hand-marbled, the twenty in-text wood-engravings throughout, errata slip of delicate yellow hand-made paper loosely laid in at p. 26; hand-set Caslon printed on Kozo hand-made paper at Whittington Press for Masatsugu Ohtake, small quarto size (10 1/8" by 6 1/4"), pagination: [i-x] 1- [colophon, 35] [blank, 36] [acknowledgement of editor, 37]; this one of the 15 deluxe copies (total edition of 50, with an additional 50 copies also bound in full goatskin for the Whittington Press), the chop and signature (in Japanese) on the colophon page. Accompanying the book is the extra suite of plates in black upon white heavy paper (which measures 7 1/8" by 5 1/8"), the engravings measure approximately 1.5" by 1.75", some smaller, varying in size, the plates enclosed within a wallet of brown laid paper with four flaps. The book and suite of plates presented in a slipcase of sturdy white cardboard covered in brown laid paper.
___CONDITION: Volume fine, the leather binding clean and smooth, straight corners without rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; perhaps a hint of sunning to the spine, else fine. The extra suite of prints, and their wallet, also fine; clean and utterly without wear. The slipcase near fine, strong and sturdy, clean, with a few small sections of the brown paper lightly abraded. Altogether a glorious publication in every way.
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