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William Wordsworth. Poems. Edinburgh: William Nimmo, c. 1875.
This edition of Wordsworth's Poems was acquired with funds from the Friends of the Libraries to enhance the Libriaries' strong collection of examples of printing, binding, and other book arts. It is an excellent, and unusual, example of a "Mauchline" binding.
As described by Kevin Mac Donnell, the bookseller from whom the book was acquired, "Mauchline Ware originated in the Scottish town of Mauchline in the 1830s and was made by applying a transfer print of a wood engraving, sometimes a color design like a tartan or floral design, to a lacquered wooden object. By the 1860s, photographs were being applied, and at some point ferns were used as stencils to create three-dimensional designs. Mauchline Ware was especially popular in the manufacture of items sold to the tourist trade in Scotland, but was also sold in England and America, and reached a peak in popularity in the 1880s; the very last Mauchline Ware was made in the 1920s. Mauchline Ware book-bindings, snuff boxes, egg cups, letter openers, and thread dispensers were popular."
This binding has a photograph of Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's home, on the front cover and a view of his grave at Grasmere on the rear cover. Both are framed with gilt cartouches and captioned with gilt letters. The spine is tooled green morocco goatskin. Mac Donnell writes about this binding, "Fern designs were popular on Mauchline bindings, and this one has a better three-dimensional effect than most seen, with the wood grains showing through on the broader leaves. The fern designs of Mauchline Ware were accomplished both by stenciling using real ferns and splattering different shades of brown dye over them in sequence, and by transfer prints; the covers of this volume were accomplished by stenciling. It is also an early use of original photographs to decorate a book binding; the earliest dated examples of Mauchline Ware to use photographs date from the later 1860s."
The text of this edition is further pleasingly enhanced with a frontispiece engraving of the author, a series title lithograph with an elaborate floral border printed in multiple colors, and with delicate engravings by Keely Halswelle.