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An Extraordinary Cosway Binding: Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


I’ve mentioned before how much I love the part of my job that allows me to forever stumble across new and different varieties of beautiful and unusual books, and today is no exception.

Perhaps you’re familiar with our feature on Cosway Bindings. If not, to synopsize, traditional leather bindings are adorned with beautifully inset miniature portraits in the covers. The bindings are named for the portrait painter Richard Cosway. The book pictured at top – Evangeline by Longfellow – is an extraordinarily gorgeous example with portraits set into the back cover as well as the front. I’ve never seen that before; usually the back cover is leather, or leather and gilt, but in this instance, the back cover has three portraits inlaid as well, and 11 portraits on the front cover. As well, the text is richly decorated throughout with traditional decorative illuminations.

For sale at the tidy sum of $91,800, this one is a smidge out of my price range, but I sure what love to hold it in my hands and look through it. Anyone want to go halfsies? You can have it Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, and I’ll have it Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays, and we’ll alternate Sundays.

Posted by on January 17, 2012.

Categories: AbeBooks, antiquarian, collecting, design, poetry

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