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Memoirs of My Life
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Folio Society Published Works Number 2616

Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales Eric Gill engravings Limited Edition

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Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales Eric Gill engravings Limited Edition (Published in by The Folio Society in 2012. Limited to 1980 numbered copies of which this is number 698. Bound in Nigerian goatskin leather. 768 pages. Book size: 12 " x 7 ". Blocked in 24-carat gold with a design featuring Eric Gill's engravings around a blind-blocked frame. Gilding on all three book edges. Black satin ribbon marker. Printed on felt-marked, laid paper, in a special shade matched to the original, made at the Favini mill near Venice. Endpapers of Merida Graphite from the Varona mill, Riva del Garda. Presented in a buckram-bound solander box with gold blocking on the spine. The text is in the original middle English (with no translation). Commentary essay quarter-bound in buckram and Merida Graphite. Working from an original edition, The Folio Society has created an exquisite facsimile of this masterpiece of the private press movement. The Canterbury Tales is a glorious expression of Eric Gill's genius. In this varied, vibrant work, Gill displayed his artistic versatility, and succeeded in marrying the illuminated manuscript tradition with a Modernist aesthetic. For this facsimile edition, The Folio Society has created an exquisite binding based on Gill's own designs for the Physician's and the Summoner's tales. The work itself is represented in a meticulously exact facsimile, created directly from an original copy. Copies of the original print run of 500 very rarely reach the open market, and one of the few examples in recent years sold for $9,000. This beautifully produced facsimile represents an outstanding opportunity to own this work at an affordable price. A landmark of English poetry, The Canterbury Tales has appeared in many illustrated editions over the centuries. The Golden Cockerel Press edition of 1929-1931, illustrated by Eric Gill, is among the most remarkable. It is one of the most beautiful books produced in the twentieth century, a triumph of the art of the private press. Gill's powers of imagination can be seen in many individual touches. Into the title illustration he has incorporated a cockerel, symbol of the press. The General Prologue is illustrated with the martyrdom of Thomas Becket, whose shrine at Canterbury was the pilgrims' goal. The opening illustration to 'The Man of Law's Tale' (below right) depicts Constance, the Christian daughter of a Roman emperor, cast adrift by her father. Gill shows her carrying her child, who appears only later in the Tale thus creating a visual reference to the Madonna and Child. The curved timbers of the boat fuse with the swirling waves, creating a harmonious design full of tender beauty. Gill's illustrations for The Canterbury Tales were rich indeed: half-page illustrations, tail pieces and initial letters for each of the tales, and copious borders which he designed as pairs throughout the book. Blue and red initial letters are used at intervals to add variety an inspired, thoroughly modern response to the medieval manuscripts Gill admired. )

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