Alexander's Feast; or, The Power of Music

Alexander's Feast; or, The Power of Music. John Dryden.
Alexander's Feast; or, The Power of Music
An exceptional copy of this Essex House Press high spot printed on vellum
Alexander's Feast; or, The Power of Music

Campden: Essex House Press, 1904. First Thus. Limited edition, number 91 of 140 copies. Published by C. R. Ashbee at his Essex House Press as the 11th title in his Great Poems Series, described by Ashbee as “a series of great poems of the language, printed on vellum.” Small quarto (185 x 120mm). Contemporary reddish brown morocco by The Belvoir Bindery (stamped front turn-in), lettering and tooling to spine in gilt, covers with elaborate floral design and borders in gilt, lettering to front cover in gilt, inner dentelles in gilt. Frontispiece by Reginald Savage. Decorative initials by Florence Kingsford in gilt, red, blue and green. Printed in Caslon type in black and red. Later gift inscription and bookplate of Helen Davis Stibolt to front free endpaper. Slight lean to spine, covers very slightly bowed; a near-fine and notably clean copy

A beautifully bound example of Dryden's work. The binding is probably by James Samuel Hewitt-Bates (born 1864). He was both a practising book binder and a teacher of the craft. He took First-Class Honours and was a First Prizeman and Silver Medallist of the City and Guilds of London Institute. In the 1920s he published two works on the subject, Bookbinding for the Book-Lover and Bookbinding for Schools. Each went through many editions. In a revised edition of the first title, published after Hewitt-Bates' death, the author was described as “both a master craftsman and an experienced teacher.” His bindery on Belvoir Road in Leicester became known as The Belvoir Bindery. Hewitt-Bates stated that “the principles which ought to govern the right and proper binding of a book are strength, durability and fitness… The decoration of a book ought to be in harmony with the nature of the work. The design ought always to be simple and flat without shading.”

Provenance: Helen Davis Stibolt (of Rock Island, Illinois).
(Item #4238)

Price: $4,500