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Shakespeare Head Press | THE WORKS OF EDMUND SPENSER



Spenser, Edmund | edited by W. L. Renwick; woodcuts by Hilda Quick and initials by Joscelyne Gaskin. THE WORKS OF EDMUND SPENSER (8 Volumes, Complete w/ Prospectus). Oxford: Printed by Shakespeare Head Press for Basil Blackwell, 1930-1932. Quarto. Vol I: [8], 307 (signature "t" repeats pp. 137-144, as issued), [1 (blank)]; II: [8], 252; III: [8], 221, [3 (blank)]; IV: [8], 241, [7 (blank)]; V: [8], 262, [2 (blank)]; VI: [8], 416; VII: [8], 241, [3 (blank)]; [12], 280 pp., bifolium prospectus with 4 printed pages, one of which is a specimen page with hand-colored headpiece. Limited Edition, number 108 of 375 copies (350 for sale) on Batchelor's Shakespeare Head handmade paper; printed in black 16 pt. Caslon with initials in blue and headlines in blue and red. Backed in Hermitage calf with Cockerell marbled paper over boards and corners tipped in vellum. A beautiful set with only light shelf-rubbing to the covers; calf spines show slight variation as volume I-III are a bit sunned and volume III is a trifle soiled--leather remains supple on all volumes. Contents are very clean but for some foxing to the textblock edges; volumes IV-VIII are unopened. An impressive production of well over 2,000 hand-set pages generously adorned throughout by Hilda Quick's hand-colored decorations as well as woodcut headlines and initials by Joscelyne Gaskin; hand-colored frontispiece map of Ireland and accompanying vignette title page for volume VIII, "A Vewe of the Present State of Ireland" were drawn by Macdonald Gill. An ambitious and beautifully designed work by Bernard Newdigate who was among the most important book designers of the twentieth century and under whose artistic direction, the Shakespeare Head Press produced some truly stunning works. Along with Froissart and Chaucer, The Works of Spenser is one of the highpoints of the Press--a perfect use of Caslon type and hand-colored decorations that are beautifully suited to the text. Ransom 67; Rogerson 115; B.H.N. p.45; Roderick Cave, The Private Press; Colin Franklin, The Private Presses.

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