Orcutt, William Dana. The Kingdom of Books. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1927. Profusely illustrated in black & white. Bound by Curtis Walters in a superlative mosaic binding. On a background of dark red crushed morocco, the front and back covers are filled by an inlaid floral pattern, with not only different colors utilized between the front and back cover, but a subtly different design, as well. The front cover is done in inlays of four(!) different shades of green, grey, and gold, with the rectangular center panel design adding maroon, red, orange, light brown, and light blue. The rear cover adds a small deep burgundy semi-oval to the design for a subtle variation from the front cover. The rear cover again includes four different shades of green, but now paired with orange, grey, and the aforementioned deep burgundy. The central panel design is done in hunter green, dark green, deep burgundy, maroon, red, kelly green, and light grey. The covers each use approximately 568 inlays, providing an absolutely remarkable effect to this binding. Six compartments to spine, four of which feature a similar inlaid design to the covers, and title and author in second and fourth compartments. Top edge gilt. Hunter green morocco doublures with inlaid light green border. "Bound by C. Walters" stamp at the bottom of the rear doublure. Housed in half morocco slipcover and morocco-tipped marbled paper case. Measures approx. 6.5" x 9". Very slight fading to the inlaid light green of the spine compartments. A beautiful example.
Lot #26 in the 1957 Parke-Bernet sale of Walters' work.
"The following lots constitute a splendid group of American mosaic bindings such as have never been offered for sale before. All of them have been consigned to us by the artist who created them, Mr. Curtis Walters. The description of bindings is always a difficult matter; it becomes practically impossible when one is faced by the stunning variety of complex patterns of colored mosaic inlays which Mr. Walters has assembled with infinite patience, extraordinary skill and sophisticated taste…" (Parke-Bernet, Tuesday, December 10th, 1957).
"The infinite variety of design permitted by mosaic work is combined with Walters' marvelous delicacy in color schemes, finely conceived geometric patterns, and tasteful use of gold leaf to produce books that no Americans save perhaps the artists of the Club Bindery could have matched. The utter simplicity of Walters' methods (he used but four tools) belies his perseverance and devotion to his art. Only infinite patience and consummate skill could have produced Walters' bindings" ("Hand Bookbinding in the United States Since the Civil War", Thompson).
The Parke-Bernet catalogue and issue of the The American Book Collector that includes an article on Walters will be included.