Monday, 27 January 2014

Cowper's Poetical Works. A typical trade binding of the 1870s.

 William Cowper's Poetical Works was immensely popular in Victorian times with many hundreds of editions being published. The British Library cites some sixteen copies of his poems published in the 1870s. The BL copy for this work is at 11613.aa.5.

There are three pictures for this blog. The first shows both covers and spine. The boards are bevelled and the edges are gilt. The cloth is red rib diagonal-grain. It was quite usual for the lower to receive little or no decoration, being blocked with only the outline of the design on the upper cover. However, the upper cover and spine have quite an elaborate strap work design, blocked in gold and in black. The cover design in not signed.

The second picture shows the half title page and an engraved portrait of the author. This was quite common at this time, so we see two wood engravings here. The half title page has the intiials " H C " [for Hugh Cameron] in the left hand corner.


 The third picture shows that this work is part of the Nimmo popular poets series. Frequently, the only evidence of a book belonging to a series, is to look at the list of publicher's titles at the end of the book, as these were frequently bound in, to assist booksellers and readers to find (and order) more of the publisher's titles. Here, we have a nice example of the publisher providing a lithograph, bound in at the front of the book, announcing quite clearly the series to which this book belongs.

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