Bill the Minder
London: Constable, 1912. Item #01911
He Doesn't Mind This Outstanding Binding
Wonderfully Finished by Christopher Lewis of Bayntun-Rivière
ROBINSON, W. Heath. [LEWIS, Christopher, finisher]. [BAYNTUN-RIVIÈRE, binder]. Bill the Minder. London: Constable, 1912.
Limited to 380 copies signed by the artist, this being copy no. 228. Quarto (10 5/8 x 8 1/2 in; 270 x 215 mm). xiv, , 254,  pp. Sixteen tipped-in color plates, including frontispiece, with captioned tissue guards, and 117 black and white illustrations, including full title-pages, vignettes, head- and tailpieces.
An exceptional and unique 'inlaid binding', c. 1982, by Bayntun-Rivière (designed and finished by Christopher Lewis) in full red crushed morocco with multi-colored pictorial inlays and black-stamped flowers that reproduce the color plate, "The King of Troy Compelled to Ask His Way," opposite p. 30, within a blind-tooled frame surrounded by gilt double-ruled borders. Raised bands with gilt tools and compartments with gilt ornaments within a gilt double-ruled frame highlight the spine. Gilt rolled edgework. Gilt decorated turn-ins. All edges gilt. Cockerell endleaves. A very fine copy. Housed in the original red cloth slipcase.
“In Bill the Minder Heath Robinson really found himself. The story is a simple tale or a series of tales about the wanderings of the King of Troy and a boot-cleaner called Bill, who became the Minder (today he would be called a baby-sitter) to the bad-tempered family of a bad-tempered mushroom-gatherer named Crispin. Like most of Heath Robinson’s characters, Bill was a solemn little person who took his minding very seriously, even to the extent of studying at the British Museum and in the Minding Room of the Patents Museum at South Kensington. Soon his fame as a Minder spread and he found himself minding a large flock of children. One day they were out in the fields, being minded by Bill, they found an eccentric old man in a haystack. It was the King of Troy, who had been banished from his country. With Bill’s assistance, the children set out on a journey, and through a series of adventures they restore this unworldly old gentleman to his throne. In the process they meet some very droll characters. These are the substance of some of Heath Robinson’s wittiest drawings” (Lewis, p. 102).
Chris Lewis was one of Bayntun-Rivière's most talented 'finishers'. He designed and finished many unique inlaid bindings during his time at Bayntun-Rivière in the sixties and then again prior to his death in the late eighties.