A beautiful Victorian era binding, and a fore-edge painting of Cowper's birthplace (Berkhampstead, Hertfordshire), grace this 1843 printing of William Cowper's Poems. The painting is very pretty, better than I could photograph by myself (brighter and more concise); it is painted after the engraving The Birth-Place of Cowper by Thomas Dugdale.
About the Work -
William Cowper (1731 – 25 April 1800) was an English poet and hymnodist. One of the most popular poets of his time, Cowper changed the direction of 18th century nature poetry by writing of everyday life and scenes of the English countryside. In many ways, he was one of the forerunners of Romantic poetry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge called him "the best modern poet", whilst William Wordsworth particularly admired his poem Yardley-Oak.
Physical Attributes -
Measures approx. 14 x 8 x 2.5 cm.. Calf binding. Boards richly decorated in gilt, with single fillet frame surrounded by floral sprays and corner fleurons; within the border are drawer handle corners with receding diamon patterns reaching towards the next corner, and both covers have a central motif but the front board includes the initials "M.B." in gilt. Spine smooth but with five compartments, four with double gilt fillet borders and corner fleurons and a central floral motif in blind, and one compartment with "Cowper's Poems" in gilt. All edges gilt. Fore-edge painting of The Birth-Place of Cowper by Dugdale. Pages - 2 tipped-in frontis plates, xii, 468, (1).
See pictures. Some edge, joint and corner wear to binding. Silk ribbon expired at top endband connection. Slight crack at front hinge. Chip at top and bottom of flyleaf. Notes on fore-edge painting on back of flyleaf, "The birthplace of the poet, Cowper. Berkhampstead Herfordshire" with an illegible initial. Tipped in frontis(i? - there are two) have a few spots and a moisture intrusion just at fore-edge. Text block is clean and free of issue except the endpaper has left a fox spot on the last page (468). Also, rear endpaper foxed (obviously ;). Mostly a handsome little book, in its somber brown with hopeful gilt, seems to speak to the 19th century. Would match a Victorian home wonderfully.
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