How could I resist the title or the pretty binding? (And the good price?) All I need to do on a bad day is look at a book like this and I feel better.
The book of poems, written by Thomas Campbell and illustsrated by Birket Foster, George Thomas, and Harrison Weir, was originally published in 1799. This is an 1855 edition published in London by Sampson Low & Son. My copy is not the first edition, but I love that title and that shiny front cover so much I just didn’t really care when I bought it. Book-love at first sight can make me do crazy things like that.
When I received the book, I examined the binding up close and saw that the leather cover had first been blindstamped and then the title had been re-stamped (on top of the blindstamping) with gilt. When I looked even more closely, I saw that, on the front cover, the title had been blindstamped upside down, but stamped in gilt with right side up. Look below and see if you see can see it:
If you look between the “by” and “Thomas Campbell”, especially near the “l” in “Campbell”, you can just make out where the “P” in Pleasures is blind stamped upside down. I presume that this is a binding error, but I don’t know for sure. I’m not sure what to call it when I write the description for this book. Time to check out some other resources, starting with John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors and Geoffrey Ashall Glaister’s Encyclopedia of the Book. I’ll let you know what I find out. If you know of a specific bookish term to describe such a strange binding trait, please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks!