RUSKIN, John. [Alexander WEDDERBURN and Edward Tyas COOK, editors]. ~ Works [Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh] for George Allen in London. 1903-12.
39 volumes (complete), large 8vo. Numerous plates and illustrations. Contemporary midnight blue half morocco, gilt, by Mansell. Top edges gilt, other uncut. Marbled sides occasionally slightly foxed, a few tiny scuffs or scratches. Completed with 2 volumes of Cook’s ‘Life of Ruskin’ (1911) uniformly bound.
First and only complete collected edition, a superb and handsome set completed with 2 volumes of Cook’s ‘Life of Ruskin’ (1911) uniformly bound (41 vols. in all. ‘The edition was the outcome of twelve years work by Edward Tyas Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, although Cook completed the bulk of the editing. The aim of The Library Edition was to provide the complete works of Ruskin, both literary and artistic, in uniform volumes. The edition was undertaken by Messrs. George Allen, Ruskin's publishers. Illustrated by 820 wood blocks and 990 full-page plates with 120 facsimiles of MSS., the edition includes 269 plates of Ruskin's own drawings of which 200 had never before been published. Portraits of Ruskin are used as frontispieces to some of the volumes. The press work was carried out by Messrs. Ballantyne of Edinburgh, and the weight of type amounted to nine tons, whilst the printing ink weighed 1800lbs. Printed on hand-made, linen rag paper (about 87tons) with a double watermark of Ruskin's monogram and seal. The edition consisted of 2062 sets, of which 2000 were available for sale to subscribers for the full set. The first volume was published on 27 March 1903. George Allen did not live to see the completion of the edition dying on 5 September 1907, his children taking over the firm ... Cook and Wedderburn provide the standard reference work for Ruskin studies.’ (from the University of Lancaster’s Preface to their electronic edition).
‘The apogee of Ruskin's immediate influence was marked by the decision to publish a monumental Library Edition of his complete works in thirty-nine volumes, edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, which appeared between 1903 and 1912. Although biographically reticent and presenting a liberal version of Ruskin (as did Cook’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography), this became the foundation for future Ruskin scholarship’ (Oxford DNB).