Here is a Roycroft full levant edition book of Essays of Elia–with a stunning leather design created by the Roycrofter’s fine binders. In addition, Elia’s interior was designed by Wizard of Oz illustrator W W Denslow, who created the elaborate scroll initials for the chapter headings. His orb and seahorse device on the title page is adorned with an original ivy watercolor by Minnie Gardner (signed M.E.G). Minnie was the first woman hired to work as an illuminist at Roycroft (not including Hubbard’s first wife, Bertha). #24 of an edition of 970, one of 40 “specially illumined by hand”, “signed” by Roycroft founder Elbert Hubbard, text by Charles Lamb. The book has a gilt flower and leaf design on the front and spine, with small stipples, that has been extended to the turn-ins inside the front and rear covers. Full gilt on text block edges. The spine has five raised bands and “EAST AURORA MDCCCXCIX” in tiny characters at the base, showing similarities to another full levant Elia bound by Louis Kinder, shown on the Roycroftbooks.org site: http://roycroftbooks.org/elia_kinder_blacher.htm. This lovely little book is 8 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ in size. Essays of Elia in full levant was priced in the 1909 Roycroft catalog at $100.
The book came to me with substantial wear to the leather edges and joints, so I sent it to master book restorer Sophia Bogle. The interior was sound and I didn’t want the book rebacked, so she simply treated the damaged portions with leather protectant and hand-colored the edges to match the original leather. A small chip at the top of the spine was repaired as well (see last photo). It turned out beautifully and while still fragile, should be fine if you treat it with respect and don’t stress the covers when you open them. The interior is in very good condition with some foxing to front blank endpapers, other pages nice and clean. A beautiful and unique Roycroft find, shipped with a custom mylar sheath via Priority Mail.
Photos and description by Wonderful Books of Oz, copyright protected through the DMCA act of 1998.