Leipzig: Ernst Rowohlt, 1910. Large octavo (260 x 176 mm). Near-contemporary green morocco by Carl Sonntag jun., spine lettered in gilt in compartments, each tooled in gilt, Greek key roll frame in gilt to covers, turn-ins ruled in gilt, yellow cloth page marker. Printed on vellum. Prior cataloguing pasted to rear pastedown. Joints and board edges rubbed, natural pale discoloration to first couple of leaves; else a Near Fine copy.
First Rowohlt edition, one of five copies printed on vellum, this copy finely bound by the influential German binder Carl Sonntag jun. (1883-1930). Sonntag jun. was instrumental in the emergence and development of the German book art movement which preceded the First World War. He trained as a binder in the early 1900s in France and the UK, including at the already renowned workshop of Sangorski & Sutcliffe. In the UK he countered, and consequently rebelled against, binders espousing an overly ornamented binding style which he felt treated books solely as prestigious objects exclusive to a wealthy upper class. Sonntag jun. contested this in his own work by using readily accessible tools and materials, and reducing what he saw as unnecessary ornamentation, favoring simple designs executed at a high level, as in the present example. This collection of 154 of Shakespeare's sonnets, set in the attractive Mittel Tiemann-Antiqua font, is the sixth work in Rowohlt's "Drugulin-Druck" series, and was also released in a standard trade issue. Near Fine (Item #3393)