Friday, October 15, 2010

A Jug of Wine and Thou

A photograph of an elaborate cover book featuring a peacock surrounded by a border of grapevines. The binding appears to be set mostly in gold with pearls in the peacock's feathers.This time it's not about the content, it's all about the presentation.  Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe, this bookbinding masterpiece is one of a number the pair produced in the early-twentieth century.  Like many similar examples, Rauner's copy was designed for the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. However, as the cliché states, you can't judge a book by its cover, and the sumptuous exterior stands in contrast to the fairly standard text block, which is from the 3rd edition (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1872). 

A photograph of the book's back cover, featuring a snake wound around a gold chalice, surrounded by a border of grapevines and a floral backdrop. The snake itself is set with snakeskin and the majority of the binding is gold.The most famous of these Rubáiyát bindings was lost on the Titanic and has been dubbed the "Great Omar."  Though not nearly as complex a binding as the "Great Omar" which featured several thousand individual jewels and leather onlays, our copy does include precious and semi-precious materials and a similar peacock motif on the front cover.  The serpent twined around the gold-leaf chalice on the back cover is made from real snake skin, naturally.

Ask for Bindings 210 to see this favorite.

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