- London, UK: Printed for the Guild of Women-Binders & Williams & Norgate, 1902.
- small 4to.
- original cloth, gilt lettering on spine
- xxxii pages followed by 50 full page chromolithographs of bindings each accompanied by a page of text.
Price: $800.00 other currencies
Order Nr. 134218
S-K 5468. First edition, limited to 500 numbered copies. (Mejer 645). With a Critical Introduction by G. Elliot Anstruther, whom provides a very detailed explanation on the forming of the Guild, using the plates in the second portion of the book as evidence of their superior craftsmanship. The plates in this book were printed by Griggs & Son and were executed to be facsimiles of the original bindings even down to the original colors used in the inlay work.
The Guild of Women-Binders, founded in 1898 by Frank Karslake, promoted the work of women bookbinders and provided training to women wishing to learn the craft; a bookseller himself, Karslake was the financial backer of the Hampstead Bindery, and he printed this volume at his own expense in order to advertise the work of the women in the Guild.
In many ways ahead of its time, "[a]t the guild women received instruction in hand-bookbinding, and were offered employment after the completion of their training. Guild binders set a standard of merit and produced some fo the most detailed work of the time. The guild not only extended the work of women into a field that allowed them to make a livable wage, but also encouraged women to express themselves artistically" (n.b., from "The Bindings of To-morrow" by Alex Post and Amelia Grounds, published October 22, 2014, on the web site of the Bookbinders Museum).
For all of the reasons stated above, bindings made by The Guild are today collectable in and of themselves, and this volume provides a fascinating insight into some of their best work done as of this printing, with fifty facsimiles of different bindings, often in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco style.
Original covers have been rebound over the original textblock and the spine has been rebacked. Occasional foxing, but only barely effecting a handful of plates. Moderate foxing on the front and rear pastedowns / free endpapers. Covers scuffed at edges. Spine shows minor age darkening and scuffing. Tissue guards are all present, except for two.