[London]: Hacon & Ricketts [and] Iohannes (John) Lane [Vale Press], . Ricketts, Charles. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. One of 310 copies (unnumbered), quarto size, 31 pp., the first printing with Ricketts illustrations, all text in Latin. Near fine. Item #22052002
The story of "Cupid and Psyche" has been retold countless times, appearing first in Ovid's "Metamorphoses" and thereafter "in poetry, drama, and opera, and depicted widely in painting, sculpture, and even wallpaper" (n.b., per Wiki).
This incredibly lovely version with five in-text wood engravings, an opening border with one large initial by Charles deSousy Ricketts (1866-1931), whose talents ran from costume and scenery design to book illustration to book design and typography. The border surrounding the initial page of text is particularly noteworthy, for "Ricketts was unrivalled in his design of woodcut borders; his inventive, intricate patterns succeed with several different motifs, whether vine-leaves and grapes, wild bryony, hops, or knot work derived from Celtic illumination" (n.b., from "The World of Charles Ricketts" by Joseph Derracott).
This volume in a stunning custom binding; while there is no binder's stamp, per a pencilled note on the rear pastedown, it was bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in quarter green leather over combed marbled paper in shades of red, green and blue, gilt lettering on the spine, top edge gilt, fore- and bottom edges rough-cut, the five in-text illustrations bound in throughout, please note that all text (including the colophon) is in Latin (per Watry, the choice of Latin for the text was "the opportunity to display the Vale fount to its best advantage"); Vale type on Graver paper, quarto size (11 1/2" by 7 7/8"), pagination: [i-iii] iv-xxx [xxxi, colophon].
___CONDITION: Near fine, the leather smooth and supple, the boards clean and without wear, straight corners with a hint of rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, the interior is clean and bright, and free of prior owner markings (note there are a few lightly pencilled marks to the recto of the rear free endpaper which appear to have been from a prior bookseller); we are grading as near fine due to some light scattered foxing and a bit of sunning to the spine.
___CITATIONS: Watry no. B33; A Collection of Books Designed by Charles Ricketts (L'Art Ancien S.A., 1972), no. 53.
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