Monday, May 18, 2015

The Dove Bindery and The Ideal Book

“This is the supreme Book Beautiful or Ideal Book, a
dream, a symbol of the infinitely beautiful in which
all things of beauty rest and into which all things of
beauty do ultimately merge.
The Ideal Book - T.J. Cobden-Sanderson (1840-1922)

The Special Collections and University Archives, at the University Libraries, UNCG,  is the holder of the Book Beautiful or The Ideal Book. A limited edition of three hundred books, printed by Cobden-Sanderson and Emery Walker, at the Doves Press, in 1900, and bound at the Doves Bindery. Our copy has been previously restored and arrived at the Preservation Services for minor repairs and infills on the leather, which  is becoming very brittle.


Cobden-Sanderson opened the Dove Press in the late XIX and by the turn of the twenty-century, Emery Walker joined him for a period of eight years, when Cobden-Sanderson continued his printing career.
The press used a single type designed under the supervision of Walker and was based on a type from the 1400’s, by Nicolas Jenson, also a printer. The break of their partnership lead to bitter discussions about the type ownership and finished with Cobden throwing them into the River Thames, in 1916.

Detail of colophon

The ultimate goal of the Doves Press and the Doves Bindery was the “beauty” of all elements that were part of a book, including the text itself. They influenced the Arts and Crafts movement and worked close with William Morris and his Kelmscott Press.

 A custom clamshell box was designed and now holds this precious volume after restoration.