Chansons de Béranger,
BURGES William.; BÉRANGER Pierre-Jean de (1854.)
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DESIGNED AND OWNED BY WILLIAM BURGES
édition complète conforme a la dernière edition publiée par l’auteur.
12mo. [125 x 90mm]. Bound in green velvet with furniture designed by William Burges, the covers with five brass-set semi-precious stones and two flower-shaped brass studs; gilt tooled leather straps with distinctive male and female brass catches, oversized turn-ins, cream silk pastedowns and endpapers, all edges parcel-gilt and gauffered with a repeated red heart pattern, two silk ribbon markers (corners a little bumped, joints re-stitched [see below]); preserved in a marbled slipcase.
Bruxelles & Leipzig: Kiessling, 1854.
'Ugly Burges who designs lovely things', wrote Lady Bute; 'isn't he a duck' (Mount Stuart MSS, 1873). (Quoted in ODNB).
Bindings designed by the architect William Burges (1827-81) are very rare. The album - Orfèvrerie Domestique - of drawings by Burges in the RIBA Library at the V&A Museum suggest that in fact only a few, perhaps only three, were ever conceived. The drawings in the album clearly show the catches from this binding and also those found on a prayer book bound in ivory with silver-gilt furniture designed by Burges and made by the Danish-born metalworker Jes Barkentin in 1868 which was sold at Bonham’s in 2009 (the furniture incorporated the arms of Sir Alexander James Beresford-Hope). There are also designs in the album for a larger 8vo Book of Common Prayer (Oxford, 1871) commissioned for the Marquess and Marchioness of Ripon’s St Mary’s Church at Studley Royal, Yorkshire, extravagantly designed by Burges in High Victorian Gothic Revival style (1870-78) that was offered at Bonham's, 11/11/2015, lot 10 [unsold]. It may be that these were the only bindings ever designed by Burges.
Burges’s ownership signature on the title-page of the book suggests that he may have had this binding commissioned for himself and it was perhaps intended for one of the magnificent bookcases or cabinets at The Tower House, 9 (now 29) Melbury Road, Kensington, in West London - ‘an extraordinary distillation of his own artistic career…more exotic than Pugin’s home at Ramsgate; more personal even than Soane’s strange house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields….The interior became the labour of half a lifetime compressed into six frenetic years’ (J. Mordaunt Crook, William Burges and the High Victorian Dream, 1981, p. 307) where he died, only three years after its completion, from a chill caught at the Marquess of Bute's Cardiff Castle. After his death a set of 40 photographs of plans, exteriors, interiors and furnishings of the house were published by his brother-in-law R. P. Pullan who had inherited the Tower House - The House of William Burges, A.R.A. .
Pierre-Jean de Béranger (1780-1857) was the most popular poet and song-writer of post-Napoleonic France:
“Béranger may claim to be the only poet whose songs won for their author a worldwide reputation – an enthusiastic popularity among his contemporaries, and a seat in their national assembly. ‘Mes chansons, c’est moi,’ he wrote, and he was a Frenchman of Frenchmen. Thus he was able to strike the chord of national feeling, and win the hearts and sympathies of those to whose thoughts he gave expression.” (I. W. Walrond, introduction to Béranger. Some of his Sonnets with English Translations (London, 1879).
Provenance: 1. William Burges (1827-1881), his ownership signature on the title-page and bound to a design by him; there is also a manuscript letter by Béranger which has been silked and bound in before the title-page which has a small note at the bottom stating it was given to Burges (the letter is not written to Burges; it is by Béranger and concerns government posts during the 1848 revolution in France). It is possible that Burges could have met the elderly Béranger (1780-1857) at his home on the Rue de Vendôme, now Rue de Béranger, on one of his many journeys around Europe from 1849. A set of 40 photographs by Francis Bedford of plans, exteriors, interiors and furnishings were publuished by his brother-in-law The House of William Burges, A.R.A. [n.d.]
2. Samuel Clegg (1871-1930), inked note on the front flyleaf noting that this volume was purchased at “Halliday” in 1920 [Bernard Halliday, secondhand and antiquarian bookseller, of Leicester]. Clegg has also painted a gold monogram design on the front pastedown. Clegg also probably pencilled the note stating, “The front cover was broken, so a canvas join was made and sewn in”; this explains the stitched repairs to the joints. Like his father Alexander, Samuel Clegg was a teacher at Long Eaton, Derbyshire, which had an established reputation for teaching art and design for careers in the Nottingham lace trade, when in 1910, on the recommendation of Sir Michael (Ernest) Sadler, he was appointed the first headmaster of the new Long Eaton Higher Elementary School and Pupil Teacher Centre, a post he held until his death. He contributed to The Bibliophile magazine around 1908/9 and was the author of Drawing and Design: A School Course in Composition (1919) and editor of William Drummond of Hawthornden's A Cypress Grove (Hawthornden Press, 1919). With his wife Mary (née Bradshaw, d. 1930), Samuel had four daughters (Mary, Margaret, Dorothy, Barbara) and, lastly, a son Sir Alec (Alexander Bradshaw) Clegg (1909-86), Chief Education Officer, West Riding of Yorkshire, 1945-74. Their daughter Mary married Frederick Levi Attenborough (1887-93), a teacher at Long Eaton School from 1913-15 and, later, principal of University College, Leicester, and they had two sons: the actor Richard (Lord) Attenborough and the naturalist Sir David Attenborough. In the 1911 Census the family were living near the school at 116 Nottingham Road, New Sawley, Long Eaton. At the time of their deaths on 12 March and 16 October 1930 respectively Samuel and Mary were living at Rye Hill Close, New Sawley. A pencil price of £3.3.0 may be what Clegg paid for the volume at Halliday’s in 1920. A poem by Béranger has been clipped from a newspaper and pasted onto a leaf before the index.
Stock Code: 63428