Sunday 19 August 2018

A Hand Painted Binding by Cedric Chivers of Bath

'Breathtaking' and 'exquisite' are words which are easy enough to bandy about (and for the record, the best-ever use of the latter can be heard here) but believe me when I say that this book deserves them both, and plenty more superlatives besides. Inside is a common-or-garden Book of Common Prayer from early in the 20th century, but the binding... oh my, the binding.

Full leather with art deco gold tooling, with a panel to the front board containing a hand-painted design, inlaid with mother of pearl. It is unique, and yes, breathtaking and exquisite.

It is 'signed' by Cedric Chivers of Bath, though the actual painting, as this in-depth blog post at Booktryst will tell you, is likely to be by one of that company's female painters, which included Jessie M. King among their small number, although this one is perhaps more likely to have been by Dorothy Carleton Smyth. The 'vellucent' technique employed in this binding was invented by Chivers, and other examples have not surprisingly become rather valuable collectors' pieces over the years.

This particular book belongs to a customer of the Little Shop, and while they are not entirely sure they actually want to sell it, if anyone has a serious offer, I will happily pass it along...