Description

    The Zaehnsdorf Grand Prize Exhibition Set of Scott from the 1904 World's Fair

    Sir Walter Scott. The Works of Sir Walter Scott. Edinburgh: Robert Cadell, 1829-1839.

    Complete in one hundred twelvemo volumes. There are in all, thirty-nine different titles in the set, bound in different binding styles. Each is three-quarter morocco over cloth-covered boards with marbled endpapers. Aside from a very few minor scuffs, the set is uniformly fine and bright. The bindings range in style from flat spines with simple but elegant rules to richly gilt compartments with floral inlays separated by five raised bands. Binding colors vary from black to brown, to tan, green, and red, with many different shades of several of the colors. All volumes have top edges gilt.

    Accompanying the set is a letter dated May, 1905, from Joseph William Zaehnsdorf to the first owner of this set, reading in part, "This set was among the books which were sent to the St. Louis Exhibition as samples of my best Library binding. As I desired to display as much variety of styles as possible, I bound each particular work of this set in a different manner from all the others. Sets so formed -- properly called 'Harlequin' sets -- are often used, with excellent results, to give variety and brightness to the shelves. To a book-connoisseur like yourself, it will be a special pleasure to know that you possess within a small compass, samples of the styles of finishing of so many and such varied masters as Derome, Grolier, Lewis, Bedford, Payne, etc. I need not point out to you that the edition of Walter Scott chosen, is the famous Cadell edition, with steel plates, which was Walter Scott's own favorite."

    The letterhead on Zaehnsdorf's letter states that his submission won the Grand Prize at the St. Louis Exhibition, which was better known as the 1904 World's Fair, and on viewing this set, one is not surprised. This is a fabulous and unique set of the best edition of Scott's works and certainly a binder's masterpiece.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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