William Shakespeare, John Milton, et al. / Robert Anning Bell (illustrator) - English Lyrics from Spenser to Milton. Fine binding - 1898

William Shakespeare, John Milton, et al. / Robert Anning Bell (illustrator) - English Lyrics from Spenser to Milton. Fine binding - 1898
Illustrated, Literature, Poetry, Art Nouveau - Quantity: 1 - First edition, with over 55 drawings - Book

Full midnight-blue ornately gilt-decorated contemporary leather, three raised bands to spine, gilt-decorated turn-ins, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, blue silk ribbon page marker, 20 full-page drawings (most blank to reverse), 38 smaller drawings (including one repeat), decorative title spread (in red and black), printed on laid paper throughout, xv + 222 pages, 19.3 x 12.9 cm.

First Anning Bell trade edition, 1898.
With Introduction by 
John Dennis.

With its profuse line drawings, including an assortment of fantasy, fairy and mythological figures, ‘English Lyrics from Spenser to Milton’ is among Robert Anning Bell’s most charming works – the second of his three contributions to George Bell & Sons’ beautiful Endymion Series of poetry books (his two other Endymion titles being selections from Keats and Shelley).

Anning Bell (1863-1933) was a prominent Arts and Crafts figure, who studied in London and Paris, and later taught at the Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art, London.

 His best-known works – embellished with “distinctive, and distinctly art nouveau, lightness and grace”, as John Russell Taylor puts it in ‘The Art Nouveau Book in Britain’ – include versions of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (1895) and ‘The Tempest’ (1901).

The leather binding, though worn, is a lovely example of the bookbinder’s craft, with intricate decorations including a lavish, star-like roundel to the lower board. There is no binder’s signature, but the letters M and S feature prominently to both boards, repeated along the lower edges.

Contributing poets (well over 50) include: Thomas Campion, John Donne, Michael Drayton, Robert Herrick, Ben Jonson, Richard Lovelace, John Lyly, Christopher Marlowe, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Sir Walter Raleigh, William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, Robert Southwell, Edmund Spenser and John Webster, to name only a few. With Index of Authors, plus Index of First Lines.

Contents very clean, with no owner inscriptions. Usual age-toning to paper, foxing to first and last few pages, occasional foxing elsewhere (mostly very light), a few nicks, ribbon page marker detached (with offsetting/browning where laid in), one hinge strained (near end of book), bumping/creasing to lower edges and corners, occasional creasing elsewhere, title page with two tiny pieces of stuck paper, first two blanks with faint trace of penciled price (erased). Front free endpaper with small white paint mark to lower corner. Edges of page block with scratching, scuffing, a few marks; top with dulling to gilt. Binding tight, somewhat splayed. Boards and spine noticeably worn, with scuffing, rubbing, staining, discoloration and marks as shown.

Lot details
Number of Books
Art Nouveau, Illustrated, Literature, Poetry
Author/ Illustrator
William Shakespeare, John Milton, et al. / Robert Anning Bell (illustrator)
Book Title
English Lyrics from Spenser to Milton. Fine binding
Publication year oldest item
1st Edition
Original language
George Bell & Sons, London
Binding/ Material
First edition, with over 55 drawings
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