Item #22032608 The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion. Welsh Legends, Gwyn Jones, Thomas Jones, Dorothea Braby, Illustrations.
The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion
The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion
The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion
The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion
The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion

The Golden Cockerel Mabinogion

London: The Golden Cockerel Press, 1948. Braby, Dorothea. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 159 of 550 copies, folio size, 267 pp. Near fine. Item #22032608

As with many of the world's great myths and fairy tales, this collection of eleven early Welsh tales would have originally been passed down through word of mouth, the bards memorizing the outline of the story with "the details being filled in and embellished as the story unfolded." Their current written form is based upon two sources: the "White Book of Rhydderch" and the "Red Book of Hergest", both 14-century manuscripts which may have been based on earlier writings. The tales "range from Celtic mythology to the better known accounts of the adventures of Arthur and his knights" (n.b., quotes from the web site of Historic UK). For this Golden Cockerel Press publication, a new translation from both the White Book and the Red Book were done by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones, of the University College of Wales, in Aberystwyth.

Dorothea Braby (1909-1987) provided the illustrations, done in wood and scraper board. Braby worked on several different volumes for the Golden Cockerel Press; for this "Mabinogion", the work took her eighteen months. Some insight into the perfection she achieved can be found in the entry for this title in the bibliography, with publisher Christopher Sandford relating his excitement when first seeing some proofs: "[n]ever can an illustrator have taken more trouble to achieve a perfect interpretation of the great literature of a nation in the terms of its own art. The first trials were made on scraperboard, and the intention was subsequently to transfer them on to wood. After two of the subjects had been transferred in this way, the great truth drawned upon us that...the medium of the scraper-board may be made to produce better results than those obtainable from engravings on wood" (Cockalorum p. 43). In our opinion their estimation was entirely accurate: the illustrations are a series of dark vignettes (white on black) separated by Celtic knots and other decorations, which enable one to feel totally immersed in the fables.

___DESCRIPTION: Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in half rust leather, with both the spine and the edges being of leather, gilt lettering and cockerel device on the spine, both boards being covered with maize buckrum, the front board with a gilt vignette taken from the illustrated title page of a crowned figure holding crossed swords above his head surrounded by an elaborate Celtic border, top edge gilt and the other edges uncut, S&S binder's stamp on the bottom of the front pastedown endpaper, the frontispiece and title page both with elaborate full-page illustrations, title page printed in red, the Contents page followed by two illustrated maps, "The Lands of the Mabinogion" and "Wales of the Mabinogion", followed by a lengthy Introduction, the volume with sixteen additional full-page illustrations bound in throughout (one of which duplicates the frontis); type Caslon Old Face on mould-made paper, folio size (14 1/8" by 8 3/4"), pagination: [1-4] 5-266 [1, colophon], limited edition of 550 copies.

___CONDITION: Near fine, the leather smooth and supple, the buckrum boards clean, the gilt vignette on the front bright as is the spine lettering and device, straight corners with minimal rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some light marks to the leather spine and a few tiny spots of soil to the leather, light foxing to the endpapers, else fine. Overall a lovely example of this stunning publication.

___CITATION: Cockalorum, no. 176.

___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an excessively large and heavy volume and additional postage may apply; please inquire for details.

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Price: $1,200.00