In a Magnificent Adams Viennese Style Inlaid Binding
[ADAMS, Ralph Randolph, Binder]. THACKERAY, William Makepeace. The History of Pendennis. His Fortunes and Misfortunes, his Friends and his Greatest Enemy. With Illustrations on Steel and Wood by the Author. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1848-50.
First edition, bound from the original parts. Two octavo volumes (8 5/8 x 5 7/16 in; 222 x 138 mm. viii, 384; xii, 372 pp. Two extra-engraved title pages, and forty-six steel-engraved plates by Thackeray. With all original wrappers and advertisements preserved at rear of both volumes.
Bound by Ralph Randolph Adams of the Adams Bindery of New York in 1902 (stamp-signed) in his "Viennese Inlay" style, here in full black crushed morocco with double fillets enclosing an inlaid green morocco border that frames a graceful three-color inlaid floral and foliate designed panel. Antelope brown doublures. Moire silk flyleaves. Top edge gilt. A superb copy. Housed in a full black morocco double-spined pull-off box.
Thackeray's classic bildungsroman, The History of Pendennis was issued November 1848 - December 1850 in 24 numbers in 23 parts. The novel traces the life and worldly education of its protagonist, Arthur Pendennis, in his quest to find a suitable bride.
Charles Dickens' only critical and popular competitor, "Thackeray, Cazamin says, never realized his genius to the full, but 'when he is at his best he cannot be rivaled'...Master of pathos and humor...whatever he did he did sincerely and he wrote as he lived, from the heart" (Kunitz and Haycraft).
Of Ralph Randolph Adams and his Viennese bindings, the New York Times Saturday Review of Books noted in April 1902 that "the wonderful thing about the binding...is the inlaying...[It] differs materially from the method commonly employed in that it is to the board, instead of being superficial. It has been perfected by Mr. Adams, who has styled it Viennese inlaying... They are the finest bindings that have been done in this country and excel in workmanship even the French masters. These bindings were exhibited at Scribner's for $1,250" [$28,619 adjusted to 2012].
The Outlook, in the same month and year, declared that "the cost of binding in the new Viennese style originated by Mr. Adams is necessarily great as the work requires such concentration that Mr. Adams is unable to work at it for more than a few hours at a time."
And The Art Interchange said, "[Adams] has succeeded in accomplishing something that was considered to be impossible, and, in spite of the severest tests, the bindings that he has executed stand triumphant...Mr Adams has demonstrated that he is at least the equal to the French in this direction." Item #02104
Out of stock