London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1873.
First edition. Attractively bound by Otto Zahn at S.C. Toof & Co., featuring Zahn's signature "mirror finish," an unusually smooth finish over the fine morocco leather. Full light green crushed morocc, raised bands, gilt dentelles. Both covers with innovative art nouveau design of arching vines, leaves, and flowers. Limited to 500 copies, but suppressed by the author, with most of the copies being destroyed (McKay). 126 pp. 8vo. Floral endpapers and laid in note from one of the original buyers to the recipient of the volume. With a fascinating two-page ALS laid in, by the presenter of this volume to the owner describing Zahn and his bindery: "May 11, 1899, My dear Mr. Babcock: You may remember that last Sunday I spoke to you of a bookbinder in Memphis named Zahn. I have happened to find a sample of his work and shall be glad if you will let me present it to you- and for calling attention especially to this binding. I do not mean to depreciate the poems, which are pleasing enough- Very Sincerely, Wilhelm Maydens. Samuel W. Babcock, Esq." Not much is known about Otto Zahn, though he is now considered one of the finest bookbinders in American early 20th Century bookbinding. Zahn arrived in this country in 1883 and settled in Memphis, TN, where he found employment at S. C. Toof and Co., which had an accomplished bookbinding presence. Zahn soon became a leading bookbinder, opening his own shop, The Zahn Bindery in Memphis. His bindings are finely crafted with a highly accomplished mechanics and attractive, intricate tooling. One feature of his bindings is that the books could invariably be placed on their spines and opened expansively without weakening the hinges or the spine. All edges gilt. Sunning to spine and around the edges of the covers (more sunning on back cover than front). Zahn bindings are scarce.
Price: $1,500.00 Item #3534