AMERICAN VICTORIAN GOTHIC toBeat the Band
(Inside & Out)
Bible. N.T. Selections. English. Authorized (i.e., “King James Version). 1848. Parables of Our Lord. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1848. 12mo (16.5 cm; 6.5").  ff.
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The Victorian era saw that the application of emerging technologies to book manufacture could produce books that would rightly be thought of as tours de force. The fascination with the “gothic,” for example, led to the marriage of chromolithography and papier maché: the color printing used to approximate the eye-popping illumination, miniatures, and marginal decoration of late medieval manuscripts, and papier maché to approximate gothic woodcarving.
This edition of the parables has 31 text pages, each with adifferent chromolithographic border. The text is printed in gothic type in black and red, with touches of blue and gold in-fill. There are a scattering of chromolithographic miniatures and historiated initials; the title-page is printed in black and gold. The illuminated initials and borders are by Henry Noel Humphreys.
For FINE, ATTRACTIVE, & INTERESTING
Binding: Publisher's boards of papier maché and plaster, formed using a metal mold and colored black, creating a gothic “carved wood binding.” Title blind-embossed on black roan spine. All edges gilt.
McLean states of the English edition of this work that “It was . . . the first of the so-called 'papier maché' bindings, contrived to look like carved ebony.” This first American edition bears the first “papier maché” binding accomplished in the U.S.
Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 231; McLean, Victorian Book Design (second edition), pp. 99, 210; Maggs Bros., Bookbinding in the British Isles, part 2, 245; Abbey, Life, 222. Very nicely preserved copy with just a few small cracks in the binding, leaves expertly reattached/recased; spine intact with surface of front cover a little rubbed in one small portion. Unlike the broken, chipped, and damaged copies we have seen, this is a treasurable exemplar. Housed in a quarter red cloth clamshell case with tan cloth sides and black leather gilt spine label. (30100)
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