New York: Harper & Brothers, 1900. First Thus. The Wakefield Edition, limited to 500 numbered sets, this being copy 468, with frontispieces to volumes I-VIII signed by the artists. Twelve large octavo volumes (9 13/16 x 6 3/8 inches; 248 x 163 mm.). Bound by MacDonald (stamp-signed) in contemporary three-quarter brown crushed levant morocco over marbled boards. Five raised bands with gilt dots. Compartments with gilt decoration and red morocco inlays. Top edges gilt. Ninety-six full-page plates on Japanese vellum, including frontispieces, with captioned tissue guards, a total of ninety-six illustrations by Arthur I. Keller, Albert Sterner, Alfred Fredericks, F. Luis Mora, W.P. Snyder, Charles Brughton, and others. Extra-illuminated title pages. A Fine set.
Contains highlights from Goldsmith's prolific career, including: Poetical Works; Good Natured Man; She Stoops To Conquer; The Grumbler; Vicar of Wakefield; Present State of Polite Learning; Citizen of the World; The Bee; Essays; Unacknowledged Essays; Introductions; Prefaces; Biographies; Reviews; Miscellanies; Letters; Life and Times (four volumes).
The book binder of the present set, "James Macdonald (1850-1920) was born in Scotland. In 1873 he came to the United States and worked with William Matthews, one of America's pre-eminent binders. He left Matthews when he had saved enough money to start his own binding business. The Macdonald bindery, established in 1880, soon became one of the most sought-after binderies in this country. In an interview with the New York Herald in November 1910, James Macdonald acknowledged that hand- binding in the industrial age was a dying art, '…the world is moving away from the art of the book lover. The world is swifter now, but it is not so thorough in many things as it once was. The average man has become used to the product of the machine. Today he knows no other standard. He has lost his touch for half-tones- for the cover of a book has its half-tones.' After the Club Bindery closed in 1909 "James Macdonald purchased the largest part of the tools" (Thompson). Unaffected by the changing developments of the book and binding industry, the Macdonald bindery produced some of the finest bindings of its time both for themselves and for publishers and bookstores such as: Brentano's, Scribners, E. . Dutton and Co., Gotham Book Mart and others" (Christie's). (Item #3655)