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The Essays of Bacon, 1900, Signed "Vellucent" Binding by Cedric Chivers



The Essays of Bacon by Sir Francis Bacon

Published by Arthur L. Humphreys, London in 1900

Signed “Vellucent” Binding by Cedric Chivers, Bath

Very Good Condition

Binding Details:  This is a superb example of a "vellucent" binding by Cedric Chivers who perfected the technique of using watercolors on transparent vellum. The binding combines the possibilities offered by the vellucent technique with the traditional discipline of gilt tooling. There is an oval vellucent decoration on the spine as well as a larger circular decoration centered on the front board. The leather is cognac-colored French Levant crushed morocco. There are decorative endpapers and the edges are deckled.

About Chivers Vellucent Bindings:  Around 1903, Cedric Chivers of Bath, England developed a remarkable method of decoration for the binding of books, the transparent vellum or “Vellucent” method. The process involved an artist painting on a super-thin surface medium, and a sheet of vellum, shaved to translucent thinness, was laid over it, with the now indivisible pieces bound over boards. For the first time in the history of the bibliopegistic art, the actual work of the artist, undiluted by a translation through the hands of a binding technician, was involved in the decoration of the book. Using the “vellucent method” it was also possible to incorporate further embellishments such as mother-of-pearl and iridescent shell, and the like, all of which may be covered and permanently protected by the vellum. As The Graphic Arts and Crafts Year Book for 1908 wrote, “It is difficult indeed not to become enthusiastic over the idea of the gorgeous aspect of a wealthy booklover’s library of “Vellucent”-bound books, which may become at the same time a cabinet of works of art, each one of his choice and rare volumes bearing an unique specimen of the book decorator’s skill, and embellished with the most varied and brilliant effects.”

Book Details:  Published by Arthur L. Humphreys, London is 1900 “The Essays of Bacon” includes all 58 of Bacon's essays as originally published in the much enlarged 1625 edition of Essayes or Counsels, Civill and Morall .

One of the major political figures of his time, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) served in the court of Elizabeth I and ultimately became Lord Chancellor under James I in 1617. A scholar, wit, lawyer and statesman, he wrote widely on politics, philosophy and science - declaring early in his career that 'I have taken all knowledge as my province'. In this, his most famous work, he considers a diverse range of subjects, such as death and marriage, ambition and atheism, in prose that is vibrant and rich in Renaissance learning. Bacon believed that rhetoric - the force of eloquence and persuasion - could lead the mind to the pure light of reason, and his own rhetorical genius is nowhere better expressed than in these vivid essays.

The book measures approximately 8.75” x 7.25”, 272 pages.

 Condition Report:  The binding is in Very Good+ condition with some rubbing and wear to extremities as well as a tiny nick to the top back edge of headcap. The binding is strong and secure with a very slight bow to the front board. Internally the book is very clean with the exception of pages 24-25 where something must have been kept stored in between the pages.

Photographs of the binding and the Chivers binding stamp appear in the photo section of the listing.