Chelsea: StJ. Hornby, 1922. Item #04450
The Fine Ashendene St. Francis
With Fifty-Three Superb Woodcuts by Charles March Gere
ASHENDENE PRESS. I Fioretti Del Glorioso Poverello Di Cristo S. Francesco Di Assisi. St. J. Hornby: Chelsea, 1922.
One of 200 copies (out of a total of 240) printed on Batchelor paper with Hammer and Anvil water-mark.
Octavo (8 11/16 x 5 7/8 inches; 220 x 150 mm.). , viii, 239, [1, colophon] pp. Chapter-headings and shoulder-notes printed in red, and the initials of each chapter in red or blue. With fifty-three illustrations by Charles M. Gere, which were cut on wood by J.B. Swain. The initial letters designed by Graily Hewitt.
Publisher's limp vellum, smooth spine lettered in gilt, fore and lower edges uncut, original green linen ties. Small ink number "1207" on front paste-down and very slight paper residue on front free end-paper. A fine copy.
The Ashendene I Fioretti… contains fifty-three fine woodcuts illustrating the life of St. Francis of Assisi, and was the last Ashendene to be printed in Italian, and the last (apart from two contributions to the Press Bibliography) to contain Charles Gere's work.
The Ashendene Press of C.H. St. John Hornby set many of the standards for the burgeoning private press industry in turn-of-the-century England. St. John Hornsby's independent wealth allowed him to approach the art of fine printing with little regard for the cost of materials or the financial success of his productions. As a result he utilized the highest quality paper, inks, and other materials. "Noble in design and exceedingly fine in execution" (McMurtrie, 468).
Charles March Gere, (1869-1957) was an English painter, illustrator of books, and stained glass and embroidery designer associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. A member of the Birmingham Group of Artist-Craftsmen that formed around Joseph Southall, Gere taught at the Birmingham School of Art under Edward R. Taylor and illustrated many books for William Morris's Kelmscott Press, including the frontispiece to Morris's own News from Nowhere. He also illustrated several of the Ashendene Press books, including: Un Mazetto Scellto di Certi Fioretti (1904), Tutte le Opere di Dante Alighieri (1909), Sir Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur (1913), and I Fioretti Del Glorioso Poverello Di Cristo S. Francesco Di Assisi (1922),
Ashendene Bibliography, No. XXXI; Franklin, The Ashendene Press, p.240; Ransom, Private Presses, 206, No. 34; Tomkinson, 7, No. 34.