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Price Realized: $132,000 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2242 Lot 46
ONE OF TWELVE ON VELLUM AND INSCRIBED BY GILL TO LEONARD WOOLF (GOLDEN COCKEREL PRESS.) The Four Gospels of the Lord Jesus Christ According to the authorized version of King James I. 18-point Golden Cockerel Face type; 65 wood-engraved illustrations by Eric Gill, including 4 full-page plates. Folio, publisher's gilt-decorated white pigskin with two metal clasps, bound by sangorski & sutcliffe, only natural mild discoloration and slight rust to hinges and clasps; all edges gilt; custom archival box of Italian Canapetta bookcloth over wood spine, with gilt-lettered leather spine label, and lined in archival Ultrasuede. Formerly in the collection of Babette and Herbert Clayburgh. Waltham St. Lawrence: Printed by Robert and Moira Gibbings, 1931
number nine of only twelve copies printed on roman vellum, inscribed by gill and signed with his monogram to leonard woolf. The 1931 Golden Cockerel Press edition of the Four Gospels set the text of the King James Gospels into a masterly example of book design and is considered one of the most important fine press books of the last century. Gill integrated the text and illustrations into a modern homage to the tradition of illuminated text. "Conceived in the fruitful mind of Robert Gibbings, this is the Golden Cockerel book usually compared with the Doves Bible and the Kelmscott Chaucer. A flower among the best products of English romantic genius, it is also surely, thanks to its illustrator, Eric Gill, the book among all books in which Roman type has been best mated with any kind of illustration"--Chanticleer 78; From Manet to Hockney 89; E.R. Gill, Eric Gill, 285.
The close friendship between Gill and Woolf is well documented and 1931 was a particularly active year of collaboration between them. That winter, the Woolfs asked Gill to design and cut initials for the Hogarth Press limited edition of a translation by Vita Sackville-West of Rainer Maria Rilke's Duineser Elegien. Gill designed and hand-cut the initials in an Italic type designed by Edward Johnston.
The colophon additionally bears an inscription to California socialite Babette Clayburgh. She and her husband Herbert Eugene Clayburgh, a San Francisco silk magnate, were prominent book collectors in the Bay area and joined the Book Club of San Francisco in 1920. It is less clear when and how the volume was inscribed to her and when the book passed hands from Woolf to Clayburgh. Nonetheless, the association between Gill and Woolf makes this an extraordinary copy and is the only known inscribed copy to appear at auction.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $132,000