Sonnets from the Portuguese. Vale Press.

BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861). Sonnets from the Portuguese. London: Ballantyne Press for the Vale Press, 1897.

BROWNING, Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861). Sonnets from the Portuguese. London: Ballantyne Press for the Vale Press, 1897.

Small 4° (144 x 112mm). Double-page title opening and colophon leaf in red and black. DARK BLUE MOROCCO GILT BY SYBIL PYE, inlaid with deep red morocco to an abstract design, tooled with fillets and various small tools, spine in five irregular compartments with raised bands, lettered vertically in three, gilt turn-ins, signed with monogram and dated 1921 on lower turn in. Provenance: unidentified double-K monogram on title.

A fine and rare binding from one of the most inventive of early-20th-century British binders. One of 300 copies of the 13th book from the Vale Press, designed by Charles Ricketts. Sybil Pye was self-taught (aided by Cockerell’s Bookbinding and the Care of Books); her early designs were influenced by Ricketts’ designs, and indeed he gave her a number of his binding tools. However by the 1920s she had developed her own very individual style, apparently influenced by Cubism.