Ballads of a Book-worm Roycroft 1899 Full Levant Leather Book W W Denslow Design Leather Doublures


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Here is a wonderful Roycroft full levant edition of Ballads of a Book-Worm by Irving Browne. Most beautiful, with two amazingly tooled and decorated internal doublures. The stunning leather design were obviously executed by an extremely skilled hand, possibly that of Roycrofter Louis Kinder. Like most Roycroft bindings, alas it is unsigned. The front and back cover have four gilt fuscias in the corners, and both inside doublures (shown in main photo) are decorated with an elaborate lacy gilt pattern on inset purple leather. Simply gorgeous. 5 1/4″ x 8 1/4″ x 1″ thick, 120 numbered pages. The title page is dated 1899, but the book was probably bound slightly later (the ca. 1901 “Roycroft Wares” catalog advertises this book in full levant). Number 92 of a limited edition of 850, with Elbert Hubbard’s signed name. Browne died in 1899 so this may have been his last, and likely most beautifully published, book.

An added bonus is a nice illumined title page and initials by Roycroft artist and Wizard of Oz illustrator W W Denslow. The title page has a tiny seahorse (Den’s totem) in the scroll-work at the left and the double seahorse Roycroft logo. The text also includes large, scroll-like illumined initials designed by Denslow. (I counted 33 pages with initials hand illumined in different colors.)

The book is in good plus condition. The leather is still beautiful, but the spine is darkened considerably with age. Internally, the book is in very good condition, including the doublures. Small edge tear and pencil notation on one endpaper, other pages clean and untorn. A very special Roycroft item, in particular with the Denslow connection!