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Thornbury, Walter.  Two centuries of song: or, Lyrics, madrigals, sonnets, and other occasional verses of the English poets of the last two hundred years. London: Sampson Low, Son, & Marston, 1867. 8vo (23.4 cm; 9.25"). xii, 307, [1] pp., illus.; lacks one plate of 18.

A beautifully ornamented collection of poetry covering 200 years. Walter Thornbury edited this anthology that spans Cowley and Wither to Browning, Tennyson, Arnold, Swinburne, and Dickens(!), with a good handful of women included. Each page (including the title-page) is embellished with a red decorative border, there being three distinct ones, all designed by => Henry Shaw.
        => Stunning full-page wood-engraved plates, each with a protective tissue guard, illustrate the poems. Some of the foremost engravers of the day, such as Orrin Smith, W.J. Linton, and W. Thomas, provided their work, and => Charles Cundall supervised the artistic production.
        Binding: Signed binding by W. Harry Rodgers. Ebony-green morocco with gilt lettering and decoration to boards and spine; gilt cherubs and filigree inside two sets of double-ruled gilt borders with simple floral gilt and blind border in between, plus touches of blind-stamped decoration; gilt floral turn-ins. Functional clasp, so restored by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. All edges gilt over red.
        Evidence of Reader/Collector Engagement: A 20th-century owner's detailed and important pencilled notes on the binding, artists, etc., on verso of front free endpaper, with dated note of purchase and cost of clasp repair.

Bound as above, spine faded, light to moderate rubbing and top corners bumped; the faintest of scrapes to boards. Foxing to endpapers, very minor bleeding of red undercolor of edges to some margins. One plate (of 18) lacking, only, with no signs of excision. => A sturdy and charming copy of a work notable not only for its generous text but for the period appeal of its art and ornamental details.  (37370)   Please RESHELVE This.

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