Rossetti Binding Controversy

    [Percy Bysshe Shelley]. Harry Buxton Forman, editor. The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley. In Four Volumes [Lacking Volume I]. London: Reeves and Turner, 1876 and 1877. Three octavos. vii, 438; x, 476; xix, 573 pages, several unopened pages. Three frontispieces and four illustrations. Volumes II and III have holograph pen inscription of the front free endpaper: "With the Publisher's Compliments." [together with:] the 1882 Supplement to Library Editions of 1876-7. Octavo. cxicv, pages 577-606 with two paged catalog at the end. Unopened pages. Holograph pencil gift inscription to Professor Fredeman on verso of front endpaper, his own small pencil notes on facing blank. The three volumes are bound in blue cloth covered beveled boards, the Supplement is bound in quarter vellum over white cloth covered beveled boards, upper edge gilt, decorative endpapers. Each of the four volumes has the gilt flower and sun circle device on its front cover, gilt bird and butterfly devices on the back cover, and gilt titles on the spine. Boards rubbed, foxed, stained, and soiled, corners bumped, spines sunned, small tears with minor loss at head and foot of spine; hinges cracked, few small holograph pencil marks, occasional foxing or smudges; otherwise an incomplete set in very good condition. From the William E. Fredeman Collection.

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    "There is some controversy about whether DGR is the originator of this binding design. Greive and Fredeman, the two chief authorities, differ on the matter, with Fredeman arguing it is DGR's and Grieve dismissing the attribution. It is in any case an undistinguished piece of work, and if DGR was indeed the source of the design, we can't be certain that the received product resembles his original conception. Everyone agrees that Forman appropriated a design and that DGR was not directly involved with his book. But DGR seems to have made a design for the covers of E. S. Dallas's 1866 volumes The Gay Science and the controversy is whether or not this design is the one-or anything like the one-that appears in the Forman edition."

    - Rossetti Archive.

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