London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. [printed by the Temple Press], 1922. Hardcover. Six volumes (complete set), duodecimo size, 1928 pp. Very good. Item #CNSZ05
The celebrated writer Jane Austen (1775-1817) is known for her novels examining the lives of English families living in the country, often with poignant observations on the characters' relationships and the changing economy and politics of England. During her lifetime her works garnered only modest praise, but within twenty years of her death her works gained in popularity and have since then seldom - if ever - been out of print. Today she remains a favourite with many, with countless reprints and screen productions.
This lovely set, in a custom binding by Bayntun, was published in 1922 and contains ninety-six (sixteen in each volume) illustrations by Charles Edmund Brock (1870-1938), who specialized in period books such as the works of Jane Austen, Charles Lamb, Oliver Goldsmith and the like. Although influenced by the work of Hugh Thompson, Charles and his brother H.M. Brock (also an artist) were meticulous in their details, even collected Georgian furniture and clothing to ensure the accuracy of their work (n.b., from Simon Houfe, "The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators", p. 75).
___DESCRIPTION: Six volumes uniformly bound by Bayntun (with their binder's stamp on the versos of the front free endpapers), in half navy blue calf over blue cloth, the spines with raised bands and six compartments which are elaborately tooled in gilt, each volume with two brown leather spine labels with gilt lettering, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers of pale blue, pale pink and ivory, each volume with the Ex-Libris of the noted book collectors Marjorie & Martin Mitau, the plates themselves are lovely, showing bookseller stalls and signed by the artist in pencil below the plate, each volume with one of the illustrations serving as a frontis with a tissue guard, decorative title pages in blue and red, the other fifteen illustrations in each volume scattered throughout the text; duodecimo size (7 5/8" by 5 1/8"), pagination: Vol. I, Sense and Sensibility: [i-vi] vii-xxv, [xxvi - blank],  2-308; Vol. II, Pride and Prejudice: [i-ii, half-title and verso], [i-ii, title page and verso], iii-vi,  2-336; Vol. III, Mansfield Park: [i-ii, half-title and verso], [i-ii, title page and verso], iii-vi,  2-396; Vol. IV, Emma: [i-ii, half-title and verso], [i-ii, title page and verso], iii-viii,  2-395; Vol. V, Northanger Abbey: [i-ii, half-title and verso], [i-ii, title page and verso], iii-viii,  2-207; and Vol. VI, Persuasion: [i-ii, half-title and verso], [i-ii, title page and verso], iii-vi,  2-216.
___CONDITION: The set is overall a bit better than very good; the leather on the bindings is smooth and supple, the corners are straight, all text blocks are strong and square with solid hinges, the interiors are clean and bright, all of the illustrations are present, the only prior owner markings being the Ex-Libris plates referred to above; each volume with a few spots of rubbing to the leather, mostly at the joints, some heads and tails of the spines, or corners (all rubbing minimal), and all volumes with some offsetting to the free endpapers from the leather turn-ins. Overall still a lovely set, with the Charles Brock illustrations marvellously complementing Jane Austen's style.
___CITATION: Gilson E147.
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