East Aurora, New York: The Roycroft Shop [Roycrofters], 1899. Limited Edition. Suede. No. 352 of 970 copies, this one of 100 with the initials coloured, signed by Elbert Hubbard. Near fine. Item #21091702
First published in "The London Magazine", the "Essays" brought Charles Lamb (1775-1834) fame and popularity; his essays have an easy-going and conversational style that appealed to his early readers, and they roam through a variety of subjects, all down-to-earth and taken from Lamb's actual experiences.
Included in this work are topics such as: "New Year's Eve", "Mrs. Battle's Opinions on Whist", "My Relations", "Imperfect Sympathies", and of course, the enduring "A Dissertation upon Roast Pig".
One of the Roycrofter's nicest publications, each of the fourteen Essays opens with a rubricated, flowing initial; the colophon also with a small hand-painted decoration. Per the bibliography, only one hundred of the 970 copies were "specially illumined with water color sketches", by which we believe is meant the initial capitals were coloured by hand. Those hundred copies specially bound with a blind-stamped design on the front cover by W.W. Denslow (1856-1915), whose illustrations will forever be associated with "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz".
With the Ex-Libris of John B. Doukas (also with his inked PO signature and date of January, 1964), both on the front free endpaper. The Ex-Libris design is that of a two-headed eagle at the top of a laurel wreath which is bordered in Greek letters, with a motto, also in Greek, beneath; this is likely that John B. Doukas (1916-2005) of Kalamazoo, who served in the US Army and was a member of the Greek Orthodox Church.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full green suede over stiff cardboard, the stamped design by Denslow, with his monogram (a seahorse) on the front with gilt lettering on the shield, yapped edges, patterned silk paste-down endpapers in shades of rust and blue, fore- and bottom edges uncut, Mr. Doukas' bookplate and written signature with date on the front free endpaper, publisher's device intertwined with Denslow's monogram on the title page in red, red lettering and small decoration on the Contents page, limitation statement in red with Elbert Hubbard's signature and the number in black ink, sectional titles and marginal titles in red throughout, the lovely, coloured initial capitals open each essay and appear to be unique to each volume, original green ribbon marker, a small coloured decoration (of a crown) at the colophon; octavo size (9.25" by 6.25"), pagination: [1-8] 9-175.
___CONDITION: A near fine copy, the suede still smooth and supple (not powdering, as is so often the case), a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright with many of the signatures being unopened, the sole prior owner markings being those mentioned above, the ribbon marker still attached; the green suede has uniformly mellowed to a light brown with just a hint of the original green, the silk pastedowns with a few very small spots of wear. Overall a lovely example of this publication with the stunning hand-coloured illustrations.
___CITATION: McKenna no. 40.
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