London: George Allen, 1900. Item #05051
A Wonderful Inlaid Binding by Ramage
Adorned with a Double-Fore-Edge Painting of St. Paul's Cathedral and The Tower of London
[FORE-EDGE PAINTING]. [RAMAGE, binder]. RUSKIN, John. Sesame and Lillies: Three Lectures. Complete Edition. London: George Allen, 1900.
With a superb contemporary 'double' detailed fore-edge painting depicting two fine and colorful views of London Bridge with St. Paul's Cathedral and The Tower of London as viewed from the south side of the River Thames.
Small octavo (7 1/8 x 4 3/4 inches; 181 x121 mm.). xxxvi, [ii, blank], -228 pp. Pages 60-64 partially or wholly printed in red.
Bound ca, 1900 by Ramage (stamp-signed in gilt on lower front turn-in). Full dark green crushed levant morocco, covers elaborately tooled with gilt lilies and inlaid red morocco hearts. Spine with five raised bands similarly decorated with gilt lilies and inlaid red morocco hearts, lettered in gilt in compartments. Gilt-ruled board edges, elaborate gilt turn-ins, cream watered silk liners and end-leaves, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom made felt-lined, red morocco edged, red cloth slipcase. The joints have been expertly and almost invisibly strengthened - still a wonderful example of an inlaid Ramage binding with a double-fore-edge painting.
The fore-edge paintings were most probably executed sometime between 1940 and 1960.
Born in London in 1836, John Ramage served an apprenticeship with John Wright, then went to Paris, where he was able to work with the distinguished Marcellin Lortic (1822-1892), who opened his shop on the Rue St. Honoré in 1840. In 1860 Ramage purchased the binding business of Alexander Banks, Jr., in Edinburgh, then returned three years later to London, where he was in business at various locations into the 20th century. Though the range designs is broad, Ramage bindings are celebrated for their remarkably delicate, careful, and elaborate gilt work.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) was known for his in-depth analysis of art, his championing of J.M.W. Turner and multi-volume works on the subject. More than simply critiquing art, Ruskin was keen to take on social issues as well, particularly around the topic of domestic life and traditional gender roles. Sesame and Lilies (first published in 1865) contains three such lectures: Of King’s Treasures, Of Queen’s Gardens and The Mystery of Life and its Arts. It would become notorious in the late 20th century as a stock example of Victorian male chauvinism. In fact, Ruskin was using the conventional construction of the feminine, as pacific, altruistic, and uncompetitive, to articulate yet another symbolic assertion of his anticapitalist social model.