Rossetti's Collected Works, Volumes I and II, 1870, from my private collection. The books were featured in The Cult of Beauty Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900 exhibition earlier this year at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. I purchased them from Liberty's 2011 Annual Arts & Crafts Selling Exhibition in London. I am mad about Arts & Crafts design and am lucky to own a few original pieces.
A page scanned from Stephen Calloway's book The Cult of Beauty, which accompanied the V&A exhibition. The poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti's books are blocked in gold on blue-green publishers' cloth (pictured upper left). Algernon Swinburne's 1873 Songs before Sunrise (upper right) was also designed by Rossetti. Love Is Enough was written and designed by William Morris in 1873 (bottom left). Architect Philip Webb designed Morris's book Volsunga Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, published in 1870 (bottom right).
These books were featured in Liberty's 2011 Arts & Crafts Selling Exhibition. The book at right - The Roots of the Mountains - was written by William Morris and is extremely rare. It is a first limited edition of 250 copies, printed on Whatman paper and bound in original Merton Abbey block-printed linen “Honeysuckle” designed by William Morris. The book is inscribed ‘with love,’ possibly by Morris. It was printed at the Chiswick Press and published by Reeves & Turner, London, 1890. The book was also exhibited at the 1890 Arts & Crafts Exhibition.
Liberty's Arts & Crafts Yuletide Selling Exhibition is currently underway on the 4th floor through Saturday, December 24th.
The Guardian has a fascinating article about making beautiful books in an era of e-books. When traveling, I read books via Kindle. But in my home, an electronic device never will replace actual books.
I have an antique iron book press from Scotland. Every time I glance at it, I am reminded of the care and attention with which so many beautiful books once were made by hand. It's a part of history I'd like to help preserve.