Glory of Life.



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One of 275 copies on paper of a total edition of 277. Frontispiece and 12 smaller wood-engravings by Robert Gibbings, engraved title page and opening line of text printed in red. Folio (33cm.) 34, [2]p., Original vellum-backed cloth, spine lettered in gilt. T.e.g., others uncut. London, The Golden Cockerel Press.

A very good copy indeed, with the slightest of mottling to the vellum spine, mostly towards the top, an attractive early ink ownership inscription, and the neat small booklabel of F.R. Furber. 

This was the first book printed by the Golden Cockerel Press after its sale by Gibbings to Christopher Sandford, a sale prompted by the collapse in the fine book market, described by Gibbings himself thus (in the introduction to The Wood-Engravings of Robert Gibbings, 1957): "Then some panic-stricken statesman got up in Parliament and told the nation that it must buy nothing it did not use: all luxuries must be renounced. Next morning, and for weeks on end, it was cancellations instead of orders that were piled upon my desk, and soon I was wellnigh renouncing necessities. I carried on as long as I could, and then I sold the Golden Cockerel Press . . . now I was free, and as I stood up 'naked before the Lord' my work improved. It seemed appropriate that I should then be illlustrating Glory of Life, a hymn of praise and Beasts and Saints ... My engravings in these two books were the best that I had so far accomplished, and gradually the sadness I had felt at losing my Press was disspitated."

Llewelyn Powys was frequently described as "soulmate" to Gibbings, who spoke of how illl-equipped ("Only a Breughel could have attempted them" - essay published in Matrix 6) he was to embellish this deathbed atheist anti-clerical prose hymn to the "detached worship of animal life, of bird life, of fish life ... to the glory of life, to the unuttered sense of glory in the chance of existence, in the chance that called us up out of dead dust to mirror for a period with glassy retinas the mysteries of matter", and to "the wild splendour of Lust".

Stock Code: 227158

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