Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale Of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche, The
London: David Butt, 1887. Item #04037
A Fine Arts and Crafts Style Inlaid Binding by Alfred De Sauty
[DE SAUTY, Alfred, binder]. ADLINGTON, William, translator. The Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale Of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche. Done into English by William Adlington Of University College in Oxford. With a Discourse on the Fable By Andrew Lang, late Of Merton College In Oxford. London: David Nutt, 1887.
Limited to five hundred and fifty copies. Octavo (7 5/8 x 5 inches; 193 x 125 mm.).[ii], [lxxxvi], [1,], [1, blank], 65, [1, blank]. With a Pre-Raphaelite engraved frontispiece, a wonderful etched engraving of Venus and the Sea-Gull by Scottish Artist Vereker Monteith Hamilton (1856-1931), and a small engraved vignette on the last leaf. Original front wrapper bound in at end.
Bound ca. 1910 by Alfred De Sauty (stamp-signed "De Sauty" in gilt on front turn-in) in an Arts and Crafts style binding of full dark green morocco. Front cover with double gilt ruled border surrounding ten floral clusters with maroon morocco inlaid bouquets and fine pointillé, all joined together by a decorative gilt bordered inlaid dark blue morocco gilt decorated branch. In addition there are fourteen inlaid red morocco butterflies and two small gilt decorated inlaid red morocco circles. The center of the front cover is lettered in gilt "Cupid and Psyche". Rear cover with double gilt ruled border surrounding four similar 'corner-piece' floral clusters with maroon morocco inlaid bouquets. There is a central rectangular panel surrounded by a double gilt border enclosing four small gilt decorated inlaid red morocco circles. Spine with five raised bands, decoratively paneled and lettered in gilt in compartments with five decorative gilt butterflies, gilt ruled board-edges, triple gilt ruled turn-ins, top edge gilt, others uncut. Spine ends expertly and almost invisibly repaired. A superb and understated example of the genius of Alfred De Sauty.
Alfred de Sauty (1870-1949) was a bookbinder who produced tooled bindings of exceptional delicacy. De Sauty was active in London from approximately 1898 to 1923 and in Chicago from 1923 to 1935. His finest work is thought to be have been accomplished between 1905 and 1914. Many aspects of his life are poorly documented. For instance, scholars are unsure whether, when in London, de Sauty worked independently, for the firm of Rivière & Sons, or both. While in London, he may also have been a designer for the Hampstead Bindery and a teacher at the Central School of Arts and Crafts. When he lived in Chicago, de Sauty worked for the hand bindery of R. R. Donnelley & Sons. He signed his work at the foot of the front doublure, if present, and at the center of the bottom turn-in of the front upper board, if not. Works he produced in London are signed "de S" or "De Sauty." Works he produced in Chicago are signed with his employer's name, 'R. R. Donnelly'" (Bound in Intrigue, Harvard Botany Libraries Online Exhibit)
William Adlington (fl. 1566) was one among the host of translators that made the Elizabethan era the "golden age of translations". His Englishing of Apuleius' 2nd century CE novel Metamorphoses, better known by its English title The Golden Ass (1566, reprinted 1571, 1582, 1596) was its first appearance in English and has been steadily reprinted into the 20th century. His prose is bold and delightful, though he does not stick as close to his source as a modern translator would be expected to do, in part because he had probably translated from a French edition of the text alongside the original Latin. The book was a favourite source of Shakespeare's. The Most Pleasant and Delectable Tale of the Marriage of Cupid and Psyche is an excerpt from it.