London: Samuel Gurney / The Society of SS Peter & Paul, 1914. First edition. Octavo (9 inches tall), stitched in original illustrated paper wrappers, contemporary gilt-stamped red cloth, bookplate. Slight soiling to wrappers. A near-fine copy. Item #1110
"NEVER, I WEEN / WAS A PROUDER SEEN, / READ OF IN BOOKS, OR DREAMT OF IN DREAMS, / THEN THE CARDINAL LORD ARCHBISHOP OF RHEIMS!"
Separate edition of the Jackdaw of Rheims from the Ingoldsby Legends—illustrated by Martin Travers for the Society of SS. Peter and Paul and specially bound in hardcovers. A collection of humorous medieval myths, folklore, and ghost stories, the Ingoldsby Legends were supposed to have been written by "Thomas Ingoldsby," which was actually the pen-name of Richard Harris Barham, a clergyman of the Chapel Royal. Originally printed in three volumes in the 1840's, the Ingoldsby Legends were popular with Victorian audiences and ran through numerous edition, illustrated by artists such as John Leech, George Cruikshank, John Tenniel, and Arthur Rackham. The Jackdaw of Rheims, about a bird who steals a prominent Cardinal's ring and is made a Saint, was perhaps the most well-known of the tales.
Printed in red-and-black throughout, this edition was splendidly illustrated by Martin Travers with a pictorial title page, a full page plate (captioned: "Never was heard such a terrible curse!"), and several vignettes in the text. A concluding illustration, the SSPP's colophon, appears on the final leaf. The Society of SS. Peter and Paul was an Anglo-Catholic publishing house established in 1910 (on the premises of the Medici Society) for the original purpose of preparing liturgical works for the English Church. The SSPP provocatively embraced all things Baroque in order "to revolutionize Anglican taste...only the Baroque at its most luxuriant could express the assertion that the Church of England was not a survival of the second year of Edward VI but a living part of the Catholic Church of Italy, Spain, and Latin America." (Evelyn Waugh).
Originally published in illustrated paper wrappers, this copy has been bound in simple gilt cloth boards ("illustrated" is misspelled) with the book plate of Samuel Gurney, the chief designer for the Society of SS Peter and Paul. Rheims Cathedral was severely damaged German shelling early in World War I. A brief prefatory note encourages donations: "It is hoped that the publication of this little book will encourage you to send a donation to the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Rheims for the restoration of the Cathedral. The Secretary of the Society of SS. Peter & Paul will be very pleased to acknowledge and forward any donations which are sent to him for that purpose." "Tunc abbas sacerdotibus mandavit ut rursus furem absolverent; quo facto, Corvus, omnibus mirantibus, propediem convaluit, et pristinam sanitatem recuperavit" (De Illust. Ord. Cisterc.).