Here is an unusual W. W. Denslow item entitled “Ye Ancient Mariner”, authored by Coleridge and published by the Roycroft Press/Roycrofters in 1899. This copy unusual in that it’s one of the specially illumined editions of 400. In my experience, this particular limited edition is much harder to find than the edition of 910 (which possibly had printed more than 910 copies, as Hubbard was known for such skullduggery!). With many color illustrations, this is a beautiful book in its own right–but also a fine example of early Denslow design for the Roycrofters, and he is credited as the illustrator. I counted at least 23 printed color images (various sizes woven throughout text), most signed with Denslow’s hippocampus (seahorse) mark. Sometimes obscurely–if you look closely in the large initial image shown, you will find it to the left of the sea monster!
A nice example of Roycroft design with suede cover and rough cut hand made paper, and silk endpapers. In this edition they are a bright plaid! And original, as my copy of this edition has the same fabric. The leather on this copy is rather worn, with the green faded to tan and rubbing and some soiling as shown. Small hole in leather on rear cover (1/4x<1.8″), although the spine and yapp edges are still in pretty good shape. The embossed leather ship design and gilt lettering on the cover are still in good shape, with Denslow’s Hippocampus apparent at lower right. The hinges are cracked with some glue residue, and the blank endpaper is about 2/3 loose. Also, some evil-doer has cut out a piece of the front plaid endpaper, and the rear endpaper is loose and frayed. The pages are in good shape, with offsetting of the watercolor ink which is common. The maritime illuminations are beautiful, more delicate than is typical of Denslow, but he did throw in a few skulls for drama. Fair only and priced accordingly.
Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998.