Red Romance Book, The
London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1905. Item #05216
"Tales of Knights, Dragons & High Adventure"
In a Fine Inlaid Binding very much in the Style of the Hampstead Bindery
LANG, Andrew, editor. The Red Romance Book Edited by Andrew Lang. With eight coloured plates and numerous illustrations by H.J. Ford. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1905.
First edition. Octavo (7 1/2 x 5 inches; 190 x 127 mm). xii, 373 pp. Eight full-page colored plates including frontispiece with original tissue guard, twenty-eight full page black & white plates (included in pagination) and sixteen black & white illustrations in the text, all by H.J. Ford.
Bound ca. 1905 in full red morocco. Covers with a single gilt-line border enclosing a lovely border of gilt flowers and stems, the flowers inlaid in Sherwood green, the corner flowers inlaid in olive green. Spine with five shallow bands, with the same inlaid design as the covers, lettered in gilt in compartments. Gilt ruled board edges, gilt ruled and floral inlaid turn-ins, pink & green paste-downs and end-leaves, top edge gilt, others uncut. Original red pictorial end-papers bound in at end. A lovely example of an art-nouveau binding. A small 5/8 inch closed split at top of rear cover, otherwise fine.
Although unsigned this binding is very much in the style of the Hampstead Bindery or Alfred de Sauty (see notes below).
The Red Romance Book: Tales of Knights, Dragons & High Adventure (or The Red Book of Romance)
is a book of heroic tales and legends. It was edited by Andrew Lang with illustrations by Henry J. Ford, and published in London by Longmans, Green, and Co. in 1905. The tales were generally taken from sagas and chivalric romances such as The Story of Burnt Njal, The Faerie Queene, Don Quixote and Orlando Furioso. They are about such legendary characters as Bevis of Hampton, Huon of Bordeaux, Ogier the Dane and Guy of Warwick. Some are literary fantasies, while others, such as the story of El Cid, have a basis in historical fact.
Henry Justice Ford (1860–1941) was a prolific and successful English artist and illustrator, active from 1886 through to the late 1920s. Sometimes known as H. J. Ford or Henry J. Ford, he came to public attention when he provided the numerous beautiful illustrations for Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, which captured the imagination of a generation of British children and were sold worldwide in the 1880s, 1890s, and early twentieth century.
[The Hampstead Bindery was founded by Frank Karslake in 1898. It was the brother organization of the Guild of Women-Binders which was also founded by Karslake. At one time it had a staff of seven including Alfred De Sauty, Harold Karslake and P.A. Savoldelli. As announced in its prospectus: "Its workmen are professionals of great experience in the best English and Continental ateliers. Every book that is bound is never repeated unless ordered".
The men of the Hampstead Bindery apparently trained many of the women, who were culled from such groups as the Edinburgh Social Union, the Kirkby Lonsdale Handicraft Class, the Chiswick Art Workers' Guild, and Miss Bassett's Leighton Buzzard Handicraft Class for crippled girls, among others. The Hampstead Bindery, together with the Guild, published The Bookbindings of To-morrow in 1902 which included many pictures of their bindings. Both exhibitions and sales of their bindings at Sotheby's took place in 1900, 1901, and 1904, after which the organizations appeared to cease existence].
"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 Riviere & 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).