London: Printed for the Nonesuch Press by Richard Clay & Sons, Ltd., Bungay, 1927. Item #00871
James Lever’s “Stitch in Time”
[NONESUCH PRESS]. LAVER, James. A Stitch in Time; or Pride Prevents a Fall. London: Printed for the Nonesuch Press by Richard Clay & Sons, Ltd., Bungay, 1927.
First edition. Limited to 1,525 copies. Small folio (11 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches; 292 x 191 mm). 27, [1 colophon], [1 blank] pp. Printed on Arches cream laid paper in 18pt Caslon.
Sewn into semi-stiff boards loosely covered with predominantly brown, green, and yellow marbled paper folded over inside. Printed paper label on front cover. A near fine copy. In the original (worn) glassine dust wrapper.
“James Laver (1899-1975) matriculated at Oxford in 1917. In 1921 he won the Newdigate Prize for a poem on Cervantes, and in 1922 he was appointed an assistant keeper in the Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum, where he was to remain for 37 years” (Dreyfus).
Laver wrote in his autobiography, Museum Piece (1963): “For my own amusement and without very much hope of publication I had written a Popeian poem called A Stitch in Time. It was quite frankly a pastiche of The Rape of the Lock but transposed into modern times. I showed it to my Director, Sir Eric Maclagan, who seemed to like it. I then showed it to Herz, who passed it on to Dorothy Moulton Mayer. She happened to be a friend of Stephen Gooden, who was then producing his miraculous line engravings for the publications of the Nonesuch Press, and she invited him to dinner to meet me and hear the poem. He carried it off to show to Francis Meynell and to my astonishment and delight Meynell offered to publish it…The small edition was soon exhausted and it became something of a collector’s piece, so that even The Financial Times was moved to comment upon the bullish qualities of a publication which had risen in price in a couple of weeks, from 3s. 9d. to 35s” (quoted in Dreyfus).
Dreyfus 46. The Nonesuch Century 46.