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Poems by Shelley, Deluxe Vellum Edition, Unique Guild of Women Binders



Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Illustrated by Robert Anning Bell

Deluxe Edition Limited Printed on Japanese Vellum – 97 of 125

Published by George Bell and Son, London in 1902

Stunning Inlaid Leather Binding by the Guild of Women Binders

Custom Clamshell Box by Jamie Kamph, Stonehouse Bindery

Exceptional Condition

Binding Details:  Extravagant signed inlaid leather binding by the Guild of Women Binders of full green crushed levant morocco leather that is elaborately decorated with hundreds of inlays and entirely covered with gilt tooled decorations. The beauty and complexity of the design cannot be overstated. This is truly one of those bindings where a picture is worth a thousand words. Included in the photo section of the listing are photographs of the binding as well as the leather doublures that hopefully will provide you with some insights into this magnificent binding. The binding stamp of the Guild of Women Binders appears in gold gilt on the bottom on the front leather doublure. The book is housed in a custom made cloth slipcase by Jamie Kamph of the Stonehouse Bindery that also has a leather spine label with titling in gold gilt.

About The Guild of Women Binders

The Guild of Women Binders was an organization founded in 1898 by Frank Karslake, a London bookseller and also founder of the Hampstead Bindery, to promote and distribute the work of women bookbinders and instituted training programs to teach other women. It ceased operations in 1904 but left a lasting legacy of remarkable bindings. The American Bookbinders Museum commenting on their work wrote, “Women have been closely associated with the needle arts for time immemorial. They are also closely associated with the hand sewing of books, but their role in the design and production of books beyond the hand binding era is more uncertain.  However, it is indisputable that one of the pinnacles of early 20th century decorative bookbinding is the corpus of work produced by the Guild of Women Binders. These women provided some of the most technically adept and unique designs of the era by combining stylistic contemporary designs with sensitive color work.”

Book Details:  This is the deluxe limited edition printed on Japanese vellum of Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley published by George Bell and Son in 1902 and printed at the Chiswick Press, London with a limitation of 125 copies this being number 97. The book contains many of Shelley’s best known verse, both epic and short, adorned throughout with gorgeous illustrations by the English artist and designer Robert Anning Bell. Almost a decade after the book was published Bell would go onto become head of design at Glasgow School of Art, and from 1918 to 1924 professor of design at the Royal College of Art, during which time he also worked on a series of mosaics for the Palace of Westminster.

The Poetry Foundation in their critique of Shelley wrote, “Percy Bysshe Shelley is considered one of the greatest English Romantic poets and is critically regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. His works such as Queen Mab, The Revolt of Islam and Prometheus Unbound have indisputably placed him amongst the greatest English poets. He created some of the greatest works in all of Romantic poetry, and along with Lord Byron, is considered the leading voice of the genre. Though born in England, Shelley found his spiritual home in Italy. Self-exiled he spent the last four years of his life there, where he wrote some of his greatest works.”

The book measures approximately 8.5” x 5.75” with 335 pages as well as an introduction by Walter Raleigh and a table of contents.

Condition Report:  The binding is in FINE condition. Internally, the book is very clean with no signs of previous ownership. The book was issued with uncut pages and as a result some of the pages have right side margins that are different in size. The clamshell box is also in FINE condition.

Photographs of the binding, doublures, clamshell box and some composite illustrations from the book appear in the photo section of the listing.