Curwen Press - Browne (Sir Thomas). Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus.


Curwen Press - Browne (Sir Thomas). Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus.

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Sir Thomas Browne: Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus. With thirty drawings by Paul Nash. Edited with an Introduction by John Carter. Royal 4to, 312 X 230mm, pp.xx,146, Printed at the Curwen Press, Published by Cassell and Co Ltd, La Belle Sauvage, London, 1932.

Number 173 of 215 copies set in large Bembo (with large letters in Centaur and the Greek notes in New Hellenic) and printed on Barcham Green hand-made paper. Illustrated with 15 full-page and 17 half-page collotypes by Paul Nash stencilled with watercolours. The elaborate binding (here in the second state by Sangorski & Sutcliffe) was also designed by Nash: The front is in brown orocco, tooled in the centre with a quincunx in gold, and inlaid with vellum. The motif on the back is the same with the morocco inlaid. The binding is ivory vellum with gold lettering on the spine, all edges gilt. Slipcase. A fine copy.

'Urne Buriall and The Garden of Cyrus was justly regarded by those who worked on it at both the curwen Press and Cassell as a great credit to both printer and publisher. Herbert Read, writing in 1952, described it as 'one of the loveliest achievements of contemporary English art ...' Even Nash was pleased with the result. In a letter to Harold Curwen he paid tribute to the achievements of the staff at Curwen: he writes, 'I must say I think your people surpassed themselves in the understanding of the problem'. However, in spite of its wide acclaim, 'Urne Buriall' did not sell. Fifteen guineas was far in excess of the normal asking-price of an illustrated book, and at the outset of the 'thirties slump people were wary of buying books at all. The result was that only eighty copies were bound up for sale (by Nevetts), the rest were later remaindered as unbound sets to Sangorski & Sutcliffe. (One of 'the thirty' books representing the twentieth century, Printing and the Mind of Man 177)

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