100 Victorian Gift Books ~ from the collections of Peter Rose and Albert Gallichan. 1850-1865. 1850
100 volumes, most 1850-1865 (with a handful from the decades on either side) most in the original publisher’s decorative cloth, with a handful in publisher’s leather bindings.
The Victorian gift book was a major phenomenon in nineteenth-century publishing culture. Huge numbers were produced, usually copiously illustrated and bound in decorative cloth, often destined for the Christmas and New Year gift market. This is an excellent and representative collection, formed over many years, exhibiting a wide range of decorative styles ―usually with elaborate stamping in gilt, blind and black, onlays and inlays of contrasting cloth printed in a variety of techniques and gauffered edges. There are several examples of copies of the same edition in variant cloth colours. The work of Edmund King examining the Victorian decorated trade bindings 1830-1880 in the British Library (many from the unsurpassed collection of Robin de Beaumont) has highlighted their huge variety and identified a large number of artists and designers involved. King concentrated on attributable bindings and others with similar or striking designs and he identified key figures such as Henry Noel Humphreys, John Leighton and William Harry Rogers as major contributors. The present collection contains many examples noted by King, but also, rather more than half the total ‘not in King’, usually with unsigned bindings, but often as striking as King’s examples, which only serve to emphasise the variety of the material and the potential number of unnamed designers engaged in book production of the period.
Peter Rose (d. 2020) and Albert Gallichan (d. 2001) were pioneer Victorianists, beginning their collections of decorative arts in the 1950s and 60s when most antiques of this period were overlooked by serious collectors. They were founder members of the British Decorative Arts Society and inspired a generation of collectors. They bought pictures, ceramics, furniture over several decades and filled their large Brighton house in exuberant style. (it was featured in the September 2021 issue of The World of Interiors) exuberant style. Books were a backdrop in almost every room, with a large reference collection and another collection devoted to Victorian gift books, from which we have chosen the 100 best.
References are to Edmund M.B. King, Victorian Decorated Trade Bindings (British Library & Oak Knoll, 2003). Condition is generally good or better, with specific flaws noted. As usual, the covers and sides are in brighter condition than the exposed spines, which exhibit typical fading, darkening and sometimes chipping. Additional photographs can be supplied on request (pictures here are only roughly to scale). The collection occupies roughly ten linear feet (circa 3 metres). View the complete illustrated list at: https://www.justincroft.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/RG100.pdf