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HYMNS AND PRAYERS FOR USE AT THE MARRIAGE OF MICHAEL HORNBY AND NICOLETTE WARD AT ST. MARGARET'S CHURCH, WESTMINSTER
Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1928. ONE OF APPROXIMATELY 250 COPIES "Printed by the father of the Bridegroom.. Softcover. Owned by Arts and Crafts Furniture Designer Sir Ambrose Heal. 222 x 159 mm (8 3/4 x 6 1/4"). [6] leaves. ONE OF APPROXIMATELY 250 COPIES "Printed by the father of the Bridegroom.". Original printed blue wrappers, untrimmed edges. Printer's device in colophon. Printed in red and black in Ptolemy type. A printed note laid in at front "From C. H. St. John Hornby, Shelley House, Chelsea Embankment, London, S.W. 3." The pamphlet contained in a (slightly soiled and discolored) stamped envelope addressed to Ambrose Heal of Beaconsfield. Hornby, pp. 99 and 104; Franklin, p. 165. A nearly mint copy. Founded by Charles Harry St. John Hornby (1867-1946), the Ashendene Press issued 40 books, plus additional minor pieces, from 1895-1935. Less elaborate in appearance and design than William Morris' Kelmscott volumes, but more ornamental than the editions from Cobden-Sanderson's Doves Press, the Ashendene volumes--particularly the grand products of the press--have long been considered, as a group, the most satisfying books to come out of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. This and the next item represent ephemeral pieces issued by Ashendene, smaller-scale productions that often have a strong personal element but that always reflect precise and attractive presswork. Just as the young Hornby had printed the hymns and prayers for his own wedding service in 1898, so he did again for his eldest son Michael's marriage in 1928. Hornby says that there was no record kept of the exact number of copies printed of "Hymns and Prayers," although he suspects that there were about 250. He also suggests that, unlike almost every other Ashendene book, most copies of this one were lost, after wedding guests discarded them. Our copy of this fragile piece is unusually fine: it was evidently sent by Hornby to a friend who was unable to attend the service, and it has been safely housed in the envelope in which it was mailed for the past 80 years. Furniture designer Sir Ambrose Heal (1872-1959) wanted to bring an Arts and Crafts sensibility to high street shops. When he took over his family's furniture company, he began making and selling plain oak furniture in that style, and became an advocate for well designed household goods that would be accessible to a wider public. Like Heal, Horny was engaged in trade--as a director of W. H. Smith Books--as well as in arts and crafts pursuits. In whatever other ways Hornby and Heal were acquainted, the two served together on the Design & Industries Association Council, which was formed by Heal and Harry Peach in 1915, their stated aim "to improve the quality and fitness of goods on sale to the general public." It is not clear how close the two were: the envelope address in Hornby's hand is incorrect, sending to Heal at Baynard's(?) (not Baylin's) Farm in Beaconsfield. This item is rarely seen in the marketplace: ABPC last records no copy at auction (at least as a single lot) for the last 18 years.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-07-20           Check availability:      Biblio    

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