With Wood Engravings by Eric Gill
GOLDEN COCKEREL PRESS. CHAUCER, Geoffrey. Canterbury Tales. With wood engravings by Eric Gill. Waltham Saint Lawrence in Berkshire: Printed and published at the Golden Cockerel Press , 1929-1931.
One of 485 numbered copies on Batchelor handmade paper, out of a total edition of 500 copies. Stated "File Copy" on colophon page, in lieu of a limitation number. Four folio volumes 12 x 7 1/2 inches; 307 x 190 mm). One full-page illustration, twenty-nine half-page illustrations, 269 decorative borders, tail-pieces, and line-fillers, and sixty-one initial letters (printed in black, red, or blue), all engraved on wood by Eric Gill.

Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe in quarter niger morocco over patterned boards. Gilt-lettered spine with raised bands. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Spines lightly sunned to different degrees. A few very tiny chips to spines. Tips slightly bumped and with some rubbing. Housed in a morocco-tipped cloth slipcase. Overall a handsome and desirable set which shows very well and the text is very clean.

“Most of the borders are leaf and stem, but among the leaves, hiding or beckoning, climbing or leaning out, are girls and men, kings and boys, priests and nuns who take part or seem to be commenting upon the stories...the pattern continues, affectionate and cheeky, erotic, enjoyable and relevant, decorative and explanatory, a balance of taste and eye. Borders are repeated, sometimes in new combinations. To start a new tale we have more elaborate and descriptive work with a red or blue initial letter...There they are, the characters in the tale, with their stage scenery...One other quality in these borders should be noticed—their mannerism, the distortion of human figures sometimes so that they almost share the forms of leaf and stem—and sometimes grow from them. It is another, rather touching aspect of Gill’s idea and all these manners work towards a single art—the poetry, people, leaves, decoration and explanation. Author, artist and printer have shared one concept and expressed it” (Colin Franklin, The Private Presses, pp. 143-144).

Chanticleer 63. Gill 281.

HBS # 68192 $10,000