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1 Dora
Cheshire, England Full Morocco Near Fine 
Superb mid-nineteenth century amateur illuminated manuscript with original story told in blank verse. N.d., circa 1850s. With inscription dated 1865. Oblong, 24 by 30 cm. 22 leaves, with illumination, illustration and text only on recto, with exception of frontis ink drawing of Bradley Hall, where the story takes place, on the verso. The poem tells of a father who is thwarted in his wish to have his son marry his virtuous niece and of what happens when later the son dies of illness, leaving a child behind. The sentimental tone and spirit of the tale exemplifies well mid-Victorian piety. Yet while the blank verse carries echos of biblical readings, it must also be noted that it is a departure from the doggeril that was far more likely to come from the amateur pen. The calligraphy throughout is disciplined and arresting; the ornamentation is grounded mostly in the late Medieval style, with a few interpretative variants. Importantly, the illuminist never repeats himself, and there are even subtle variants employed in the lettering. Four leaves feature fuller original illustration, as opposed to being dominated by ornamental motives, and these illustrations have a naive charm that is of singular beauty. Bradley Hall is a half-timber quaint Elizabethan manor house resembling Shakespeare's house in Stratford. Blue morocco binding with gilt border, and title "Dora" spelled out in center. Edgewear to the binding. Otherwise, clean and tight. 
Price: 2850.00 USD
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Elaborate Dance Card Sample from the "Fancy Order of Dance", Brooklyn, New York, circa 1880
2 Elaborate Dance Card Sample from the "Fancy Order of Dance", Brooklyn, New York, circa 1880
NA Fine 
Highly unusual layered sample card, with elaborate "Dresden"-style decoration on the front, featuring a butterfly, lace faux flowers, wax leaves, several blue beetle figures, ribbons and a wax hand, all atop gilt lace. The card itself is standard size, nearly 12 by 8.5 cm, and it opens to a blank page on the recto where information about a particular dance, its sponsors and sequences would be furnished, and on the facing verso we are given the name of the business, Fancy Order of Dance, and its Brooklyn address, and nothing more. This all comes in a plain box, which being in an excellent state of preservation, has also done its job preserving the delicate card all this time. The card was also protected by typical tissue paper 
Price: 225.00 USD
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Large Album of Chromolithographic Holiday and Sentiment Cards with Original and Elaborate Watercolored and Trompe d'Oeil Decoration
3 Large Album of Chromolithographic Holiday and Sentiment Cards with Original and Elaborate Watercolored and Trompe d'Oeil Decoration
Quarter Morocco, Cloth Boards Very Good 
Folio-sized, 37 by 28 cm. 57 leaves, each of a card stock, with content exclusively on recto side. N.d., circa 1880s. The interest in this album lies in the ornamentation, which is done often quite cleverly, with floral elements in the cards being carried forward onto the large margins, or occasionally the watercolored decoration being added to and incorporated into the chromolithograph. Unfailingly the border decoration relates in some way to the chromos, and the assemblage of chromos on the page is done purposefully, with a theme or some unifying element. There can be one to five chromos on the page; sometimes most of the space is taken up with the watercolors, and other times, by the cards. It is the fusion of the two wherein lies the artistry, and to this it must be added that the botanical decoration is very well done in the tradition of the best Victorian albums. On a few leaves actual dried leaves are used. Botanical decoration is the most prevalent, but there is some abstract or geometric ornamentation employed, as well as other motives. One of the most striking backgrounds is surely the wood panel trompe d'oeil on one of the pages. The decoration tends to become more ambitious as one proceeds through the book, suggesting whoever did it became more confident and ablel The greatest number of cards are devoted to Christmas, but there are plenty for the New Year as well, and a good number with no holiday in particular. A few of the dried leaves have become loose. Newer endpapers and a leather rebacking. Wear to the boards. 
Price: 2750.00 USD
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4 Talismanic Flowers
1880 Half Morocco Very Good 
With 14 pages of chromolithographic die-cuts. Twelve of these pages are of flowers representing each of the months, the thirteenth is of an elaborate bouquet, and the final leaf is an assortment of nine die-cuts of flowers and children such as one might find in a more common Victorian album. Each of the monthly floral die-cut leaves is accompanied by poetry entitled "The Legend of" whatever the particular flower is as well as a four-line stanza dedicated to the same month. The thirteenth leaf comes with a long poem called "Nature' Cathedral". Separate from all this are nine leaves of newspaper clippings and poetry. This latter part was done in the 1930s and 40s and thus a good half-century after the principal part of the album. We can date the die-cut portion to 1880, if not a little earlier, by an inscription dated 1880 on the FFEP. This section is an outstanding example of its genre -- the compiler had an overarching conception which was executed neatly and elegantly. The morocco is heavily rubbed, with a section on the spine pierced, revealing the underlying signature gatherings. The interior is generally clean, with some yellowing from the glue used and ordinary age toning. 11 by 9". 
Price: 400.00 USD
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