Prior, Matthew. Selected Poems of Matthew Prior. Kegan Paul, Trench & Co, London, 1889. Printed at the Chiswick Press. Large paper edition, limited to 50 copies, of which this is #36. Illustrated with a black and white frontispiece. Printed on handmade paper. With an introduction and notes by Austin Dobson. Bound in burgundy crushed morocco by MacDonald with gilt rule and small gilt stamps in each corner of the covers. Spine features the same stamp to four of the six compartments, and title and author to second and fourth compartment. Gilt ruled turn-ins, with fillets and curves at each corner. Bold red, brown, and green endpapers. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Original vellum covers bound in. Bookplate on front pastedown of Joseph Harrison Brazier, Philadelphia merchant and renowned book collector. Measures approx. 5.5" x 8".
Lavishly extra illustrated by William Cushing Bamburgh in his distinctive style, with initials added throughout, in addition to more elaborate illumination to half title, title page, preface, contents, introduction, and opening "Poems" page. A beautiful and unique example.
Bamburgh was an illuminator who worked for Frederick H. Hitchcock’s Grafton Press and for the private press of Robert Grier Cook, both in New York City. His striking style of illumination was unlike much of the work that was being produced at the time.
This volume is item #84 in George D. Smith's Illustrated Catalogue of Rare Americana, Historical Bindings, Extra Illustrated Works... from 1902. It was likely commissioned by the dealer, as the catalogue features two other volumes illuminated by Bamburgh. As this volume was in vellum wrappers in 1902, it was also likely rebound by Brazier post-purchase. As noted on the flyleaf by the previous owner (George B. Clothier), this volume was lot #29 in the Henkels sale of Brazier's library in 1926 (link).
Small repaired crack to top 1.5" of front hinge. Some light rubbing to edges and bumping to corners. Sporadic underlining and short annotations in a period hand (Brazier?).