London: The Society of SS. Peter & Paul, 1916. Small single volume (6 inches tall), original dark green pebbled leatherette, gilt spine title, blind-stamped hinge-straps, rounded corners, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Small ordination inscription (dated 1935) on blank flyleaf, occasional crease or wrinkle to thin paper leaves, small abrasions and blemishes to covers, wear to head of toned spine, detached ribbon laid-in, gilt bright. A near-fine copy. Item #604
A TREASURY OF ENGLISH CATHOLIC PIETY Charming World War I-era printing of Richard Challoner's treasury of eighteenth-century English Catholic piety. Baptized Catholic as a teenager, Bishop Challoner shepherded the beleaguered English Catholics for more than fifty years before his death in the aftermath of the sectarian Gordon Riots (1781). The Garden of the Soul first appeared in 1740 and 1741, typical of the devotional books sorely needed by Challoner's scattered and persecuted flock. A brief biography of Bishop Challoner mentions his education at Douai (referencing the ongoing carnage on the Western Front of the Great War) where Challoner absorbed the sustaining spiritualities of the Catholic Reformation, leading him to introduce continental figures such as Francis de Sales to English Catholics. An "Advertisement" precedes the biography of Challoner, distinguishing this edition on several points, most importantly the section "devoted to Benediction has a particular interest because 'it is the first description of Benediction given in any English prayer-book. At this time Benediction was only in practice in the chapels attached to embassies or country-houses.'' (Dr. Edwin Burton, Life and Times of Bishop Challoner). This elegant little edition was printed by the Society of SS. Peter and Paul, emulating the portable format of the original eighteenth-century editions. This edition is printed (in red-and-black throughout) on thin India paper and illustrated with a lovely Nativity frontispiece and a fine title-page with a rich pictorial border (both by W.M.R. Quick), along with four colored head-and-tailpiece vignettes gracing the preliminaries. Another colored woodcut of the SSPP's colophon closes the volume. A lovely edition.