London: John Van Voorst, 1889. Item #04726
"The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea…"
Handsomely Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe
SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE, binders. GRAY, Thomas. Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard. London: John Van Voorst, 1889.
Small octavo (7 3/4 x 5 1/8 inches; 197 x 130 mm.). viii, 32 leaves (printed on one-side only). Engraved vignette title-page, each leaf of text with a fine steel engraving.
Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe ca. 1910 in full dark green morocco. Covers richly bordered in gilt with floral and 'bell' designs. The opening lines of the poem "The Curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The plowman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me" lettered in gilt within a gilt border on both covers. Spine with five raised bands, elaborately tooled in gilt in a leaf design and lettered in gilt in compartments. Gilt ruled board edges and turn-ins, blue and orange decorative endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in the original decorated slip case. Bookplate of Reid Langdon Carr on front pastedown. Expert and almost invisible repairs to extremities of both joints. A near fine and very attractive early Sangorski & Sutcliffe decorative binding.
Thomas Gray (26 December 1716 – 30 July 1771) was an English poet, letter-writer, classical scholar, and professor at Pembroke College, Cambridge. Gray began seriously writing poems in 1742, mainly after the death of his close friend Richard West, which inspired "Sonnet on the Death of Richard West". He moved to Cambridge and began a self-directed program of literary study, becoming one of the most learned men of his time. He became a Fellow first of Peterhouse, and later of Pembroke College, Cambridge. It is believed that Gray began writing his masterpiece, the Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, in the graveyard of St. Giles parish church in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, in 1742. After several years of leaving it unfinished, he completed it in 1750. The poem was a literary sensation when published by Robert Dodsley in February 1751. The poem, 128 lines containing some of the best in all of English literature, reflects on the obscure destinies of the villagers who lie buried the village churchyard. Its reflective, calm, and stoic tone was greatly admired, and it was pirated, imitated, quoted, and translated into Latin and Greek. It is still one of the most popular, best-loved and frequently quoted poems in the English language.
Sangorski & Sutcliffe, one of the leading bookbinders in London, was established in 1901 by Francis Sangorski (1875-1912) and George Sutcliffe (1878-1943). It is considered to be one of the most important bookbinding companies of the twentieth century, famous for its highly luxurious bindings. .