Kipling, Rudyard. The Seven Seas. London: Methuen and Co, 1896. First British edition of Kipling's collection of songs and poems dedicated to voyages on the high seas. One of 150 copies printed on handmade Michallet paper. Bound in crushed green morocco by May Rosina Prat (her initials signed in blind on the bottom of the rear turn-in) with a hand-tooled ship in gilt adorning the front cover, featuring two large sails topped with a flag on top of a bow cutting through stylized gilt waves. Title and author to second and fourth compartments of spine, with remaining compartments and bands ruled in gilt. Gilt-rolled turn-ins with light green endpapers. Top edge gilt. Measures approx. 5.75" x 9". Light rubbing to edges and corners. Spine slightly browned.
Given Prat's connection to T.J. Cobden-Sanderson through Evelyn Nordhoff (see below), the design here calls to mind the Viking ship tooled by C-S on his binding of The Life and Death of Jason, which was illustrated in Brander Matthews' Bookbindings Old and New (1895), and which is now held by The British Library.
As noted in the Nova Scotia Archives, "[i]n 1898, May Rosina Prat studied decorative leatherwork and bookbinding with Evelyn Hunter Nordhoff [who in turn had been taught by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson] at the Elephant Bindery, New York City. Nordhoff died unexpectedly on November 2, 1898, at the age of 33, after a brief illness. May Rosina, her sister Minnie, and other former students kept the Elephant Bindery going after Nordhoff's death. By 1900, Minnie and May Rosina had opened their own bindery and leather working studio, the Primrose Bindery, at 37 West 22nd Street." Minnie contracted typhoid fever in 1901 and died that fall, with May operating the Primrose Bindery up until 1903.
The Prat sisters were also subjects of an article in Harper's Bazaar in 1900, "Book-Binding as a Fine Art" by Alice M. Kellogg. Brush and Pencil (1904) noted that "[a]mong the most notable examples of the art of bookbinding done in this country are those produced by Miss Minnie Sophia Prat, now deceased, and her sister, Miss May Rosina Prat...".