[London]: , 1926. Item #04080
"There Never Was a Knight Like The Young Lochinvar."
A Fine Illuminated Calligraphic Manuscript by Alberto Sangorski
In a Spectacular Jeweled Binding by Richard Smart
SANGORSKI, Alberto, caligrapher. SMART, Richard, binder. SCOTT, Sir Walter. Lochinvar.
[London: "designed, written out and illuminated by Alberto Sangorski, Oct. 12. 1926"].
Quarto (9 7/8 x 7 3/8 inches; 250 x 188 mm.). ,  leaf (colophon), [1, blank].
Colophon calligraphed by the scribe/illuminator with the statement "This ballad/Lochinvar/by/Sir Walter Scott/was designed, written out/and illuminated/by/Alberto Sangorski/Oct. 12. 1926."
Title-page calligraphed in blue and red ink surrounded by a large historiated initial in gold and colors. Opening page calligraphed in black ink with a superb large (4 5/8 x 2 11/16 inches; 118 x 68 mm.) rectangular miniature in gold and colors depicting Lochinvar and the bride of Netherby. One and a quarter inch illuminated opening initial in gold and blue. Seven other illuminated initials in gold and colors.
Bound 2018-2020 by Richard Smart in full dark blue genuine crushed levant morocco. The binding incorporates many of the styles used in the great Sangorski & Sutcliffe jeweled bindings of the early twentieth century, with lace work, heavy gilt stippling precious and semi-precious cabochon stones and mother of pearl. There are a total 89 gems weighing 31.2 carats, and over 300 onlays and inlays. Housed in a custom-made, padded gray moire silk lined full green morocco jewel case with two clasps.
A wonderful example of the artistic genius of Alberto Sangorski.
Lochinvar is a brave knight who arrives unannounced at the bridal feast of Ellen, his beloved, who is about to be married to “a laggard in love and a dastard in war.” Lochinvar claims one dance with the bride and dances her out the door, swooping her up onto his horse, and they ride off together into the unknown.
The poem characterizes the hero as follows:
"O, young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best,
And save his good broad-sword, he weapons had none;
He rode all unarmed, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar."
Caligrapher and illuminator Alberto Sangorski (1862-1932) was the older brother of Francis Sangorski, co-founder (with George Sutcliffe) of the renowned Sangorski & Sutcliffe bindery. Alberto, who had started his professional life as secretary to a goldsmith's firm, became attracted to the book arts at the age of forty-three and began doing illuminated manuscripts that were then bound by his brother's firm. Sometime around 1912 Alberto and Francis had a falling out, and Alberto went to work for the rival Rivière bindery. Stephen Ratcliffe suggests that the disagreement may have stemmed from Alberto's desire to receive credit for his work.
Richard Smart is a third-generation bookbinder. His grandfather Charles Smart started his own company in 1927 after serving a 7 year apprenticeship with the London firm of Thomas & Sons Ltd. Richard's father John Smart (now retired) is a bookbinder and restorer who has worked for the British rare book trade for nearly sixty years. In the year 2000, Richard Smart relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, and founded Old English Bindery. Richard’s accomplished craftsmanship is sought out by rare book dealers, collectors, museums and archives. With extended studies in gold-finishing via Sangorski & Sutcliffe in London, UK, his expertise lies in creating fine and period bindings. Richard’s skill set has afforded him opportunities of a wide range, including original, handcrafted designer bindings for clients such as Charlton Heston, Hunter S. Thompson, and Mark Mothersbaugh. In 2005, he was commissioned by the Government of Canada and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to bind the Seventh Book of Remembrance, commemorating Canadian Service men and women whose deaths are attributable to military service.
"There are so many skills lost to this craft or maybe they were never gained but only by a few. A jeweled binding is definitely a collaboration of skills and resources most of which can be found in a large bindery such as Sangorski and Sutcliffe. As mentioned, Stephen Ratcliffe suggests that the disagreement may have stemmed from Alberto's desire to receive credit for his work. This certainly may be the case and not just because of the magnificent illuminated manuscripts he did, but he was also a perfectionist. Before illuminating manuscripts he was a goldsmith for much of his life, which gave him not only the steady hand and fine eye for detail, but he would have had an extensive knowledge on precious stones how to work with them. As explained by the goldsmith I used, London trained Andrew Costen who is also an avid collector of Kelmscott and fine press books, he had to look closely at my requirements in setting the stones and use his knowledge as a goldsmith and his understanding of fine bindings to give me what I needed for this binding. Once we had started setting stones in bezels and making bezels and stones to fit a design the possibilities were endless. I have to also wonder if Alberto had a major part in this process of cutting polishing and making the settings to fit his brothers design. These books were being produced based on the opulence of the jewels, the manuscript and the elaborate tooling and leather work." (Richard Smart).
The front cover:
This is comprised of lace work onlays from original levant morocco, 12 Amethysts, 12 Rhodolite, 4 Lapis, and 6 Garnets, all of the gems are mounted in 24 carat gold bezel cups and inserted into the leather and binders board from the back of each piece.
The front doublure: POEM!
The story, Lochvinar leaves his sword for the love of a lady not in a stone but entwined in vines under a pearl heart, the sword also of pearl inlaid into the doublure with 4 Topaz, 9 Rhodolite and 12 Chrysoprase.
The rear doublure:
Made up of diamond shape tooling with onlays in the center flagged by 4 Garnets, and 5 diamond shaped abalone Pearl inlayed in to the design, the pattern is surrounded with center tools, 8 moonstones and 12 Rhodolite in the center of each tool.
The rear cover:
The Goblet surrounded by red bow lace with 4 Amethyst in the corners, and 1 Amethyst a center on the goblet with 3 garnets. Signed at the bottom on behalf of the illuminator Alberto Sangorski.
A note from the goldsmith, Andrew Costen:
"It was fun discussing with Richard the colours needed for the design and then deciding on the gemstones to match those colours. Finding over a hundred stones of a similar size and intensity of colour was part of the challenge. A uniform size was needed to help with the making of the settings. I knew the best way to set the gems was going to be in bezels (tubes of gold which wrap the rims of the gemstones in complete metal edgings).
Understanding that the front and the back of the binding were each going to be made from two boards covered in leather, I knew the best way to put the bezel-set gemstones into the binding would be using bezels with flanges to prevent the gems from falling out when set between the two boards. Once the bezels were in place the two boards could be joined together and there would be no need for gluing the bezels.
To create each flange, I drew down fine wire, which I made into a ring and then soldered onto the base of the bezel. Once all one hundred and six bezels had their rings, I hand-set all the gemstones. Each bezel had to be heated and put into setting cement, which, once cooled, held the bezel securely so that I could push the edge of the bezel over the gemstone. Once the stone was set and the gold smoothed, the cement was heated again to make it soft and the bezel removed. Lastly when all the cement residue was removed, I polished each bezel setting." (Andrew Costen, Costen Catbalue Jewelers, Vancouver).
This manuscript is not (yet) listed in Stephen Ratcliffe's work.