Oxford: Printed for The Members of The Limited Editions Club at the University Press [Design by John Johnson], 1953. Austen, John; Parker, Agnes Miller. Limited Edition. Hardcover. No. 370 of 1500 copies, two volumes (complete) with original dustjackets and slipcase, quarto size, 1018 pp., signed by Agnes Miller Parker. Fine / very good +. Item #CNJS07
Edmund Spenser (ca. 1552-1599), often considered one of the best poets in the English language, penned this homage to Queen Elizabeth I in the form of an epic poem, his greatest work.
John Austen (1886-1948), a well-known illustrator in his own right, was heavily influenced by Aubrey Beardsley and the Art Deco movement; for this lovely production of Spenser, Austen provided the pen decorations which open the Introduction, Contents, list of Illustrations, and each "Booke", with lovely chapter headpieces, rubricated initials, and an elaborate marginal decorative border.
The illustrations themselves by Agnes Miller Parker (1895-1908) are simply stunning; a celebrated painter and wood-engraver, Parker was known for collaborations with several fine letterpress studios at the height of her career. Her distinctive modernist style is associated with the cubist movement, and she was at one time a member of the Chiswick group. Parker illustrated nearly fifty books, exhibited prints with the English Wood Engraving Society, 1926-31, with the Society of Wood Engravers until 1956, and was elected an associate of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1939. Her illustrations have both a sharp and fluid effect, combining traditional forms with the hard edges of cubism, and forking like lightening across the pages; her style is distinctive for its fine cross-hatching and stippled dots, which gave subtle tones to her work.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in full green linen cloth over boards, gilt lettering on the front surrounded by an oval gilt decorative border, gilt lettering on the spines, fore- and bottom edges uncut, decorative endpapers in green and grey, title page with a small decoration by Austen, nine illustrations by Parker in Volume I and ten in Volume II; set in monotype Garamond on William Nash rag paper, quarto size (11 9/16" by 7 7/8"), continuously paginated, Volume I, [i-v] vi-xviii, -511, Volume II, [i-vii], [512-513] 514-992 [993, colophon]. Publisher's dust jackets of heavy green paper, the illustration "Una and the Knight of the Red Crosse" (found opposite p. 2) on the front panels with black and blue lettering, black and blue lettering on the spines, back panel and both flaps blank. The volumes are housed in the publisher's slipcase of sturdy cardboard, the inside partly lined with white paper, the outside covered with decorated paper matching the endpapers, white paper spine label with black and blue lettering.
___CONDITION: Both volumes fine, with clean boards, straight corners without rubbing, strong, square text blocks with solid hinges, the interiors are clean and bright, and the set is entirely free of prior owner markings; clean and as new. The dust jackets are both just shy of near fine, both spines are sunned and have minor soiling, the panels of Volume I are clean and bright, the front panel of Volume II is the same but the back panel has light soiling, both with light overall edgewear including a short (half-inch) closed tear at the top of the rear joint for the jacket for Volume II. The slipcase also better than very good, strong and sturdy with no breaks to the seams, light overall dustiness and minor wear and soiling to the spine label.
___CITATION: LEC Bibliography no. 234.
___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an exceptionally heavy set and additional postage will apply; please inquire for details.
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