1867 · London
First edition of this gift book: a "carefully-culled and pleasantly-contrasted nosegay" of vers de société, or "poems written for refined circles of educated people," with brief notes about the poets' lives and personalities. McLean notes that this volume's production was supervised by Joseph Cundall, calls it "an unusual [example] of mid-Victorian commercial book design," and describes the letterpress machining (done by Richard Clay) as "superb." Henry Shaw designed the color-printed borders for the text pages, as well as the engraved half-title and various other decorations for the book, which also features => 19 engraved plates done by Orrin Smith, H. Harral, W.J. Linton, W.J. Palmer, and W. Thomas after designs by William Paton Burton, George Bouverie Goddard, Edmund Warren, Edmund Morison Wimperis,and Joseph Wolf (the acclaimed wildlife artist, here represented by a nice scene of a stork winging away from a fox on the prowl).
Binding: Contemporary green morocco, covers framed in gilt triple fillets with gilt-tooled corner fleurons surrounding a central foliate medallion, spine gilt extra. Turn-ins with gilt roll. All edges gilt. Signed binding: "Bain, Binder" small stamp in lower margin of verso of front free endpaper.
Provenance: Prize copy: front fly-leaf with inked inscription reading "Jno. Hy. Lloyd [/] Prize for proficiency in English and British History. July, 1872 [/] A.R. Abbott [/] Grove House"; beneath inscription, affixed paper label inscribed "George B. Lloyd." Most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel ("AHA") at rear.
McLean, Victorian Book Design, 68 & 146. Binding as above, showing light wear overall with joints, spine bands, and extremities rubbed, spine slightly darkened. Front fly-leaf with inscription and label as above. Fly-leaves and half-title foxed; a few faint spots of foxing scattered through pages. => A distinguished example of this quintessentially Victorian present. (Inventory #: 38060)