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London: George Allen, 1903. Item #01349

The Definitive Edition

RUSKIN, John. The Works of John Ruskin. Edited by E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. London: George Allen, 1903-1912.

Library Edition. Limited to 2,062 copies (of which 2,000 are for sale). Complete in thirty-nine large octavo volumes
(9 1/2 x 6 1/2 inches; 242 x 165 mm.). Frontispieces and plates (including chromolithographs, photogravures (some tinted blue or sepia), and engravings), numerous text illustrations, and facsimiles. Printed at the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh.

Bound in contemporary three-quarter green levant morocco over green cloth boards ruled in gilt. Spines with five raised bands, decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut, marbled endpapers. Several volumes sunned at spine. With the bookplates of Ernest Ridley Debenham. Overall, a fine set.

“The object of the editors has been to put the readers of this edition in possession of a complete collection of Ruskin’s published Writings.” It includes “all Ruskin’s books now current in other editions…a reissue of all publications by him now out of print or only privately circulated…all his letters, articles, and other scattered writings, printed but not heretofore collected…and a collation of all the different editions, thus bringing together within the pages of each book everything that he at any time published in it.” This edition also includes “all the illustrations inserted by Ruskin in his books, and all the drawings by him which have hitherto been published [many printed from the original plates]. These are an essential portion of his work” (Preface to This Edition). The last volume contains a bibliography, a catalogue of the manuscripts, and a full index to Ruskin’s works.

John Ruskin (1819-1900), “English writer, critic, and artist who championed the Gothic Revival movement in architecture and the decorative arts and had a strong influence upon public taste in art in Victorian England” (Merriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature). His major works include Modern Painters (1843-1860), The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849), The Stones of Venice (1851-1853), Lectures on Architecture and Painting (1854), The Political Economy of Art (1857), Unto This Last (1862), Essays on Political Economy (1862-1863, later Munera Pulveris, 1872), Sesame and Lilies (1865), and Fors Clavigera: Letters to the Workmen and Labourers of Great Britain (1871-1884). His story The King of the Golden River (1851) was one of the earliest English fantasies for children.

Sir Ernest Ridley Debenham, 1st Baronet (26 May 1865-25 December 1952), was a British businessman. He was responsible for the considerable expansion of the family's retail and wholesale drapery firm between 1892 and 1927. Educated at Marlborough College and Trinity College, Cambridge, he joined the successful business in Wigmore Street, London, which had been run by his grandfather and father. His restructuring activities led to the splitting of the manufacturing from the retail side of the business, under the name Debenham & Freebody (Freebody was the maiden name of his grandmother). He effected a merger with Marshall & Snelgrove as well as a takeover of Harvey Nichols. He was noted for his paternalistic attitude towards his staff, providing medical and educational support. He was also a pioneer in the dairy industry. On his retirement he sold most of his shares in the firm for £1.8M, so severing his family's connections with the retail chain that still bears his name. He was created a Baronet, of Bladen in the County of Dorset, in 1931 (Wikipedia).

Price: $7,850.00