London: Printed by Richard Hett, for the Company of Stationers, 1776. Hardcover. 8vo. (203 x 123 mm). 236,  pp. Collation: A-P8, COMPLETE. Contemporary Liverpool binding of full red morocco elaborately gilt; wide gilt border of urns and flowers surrounding a black inlay gilt with the name of the first owner: "William Pole Esqr. / Mayor 1778." Marbled pastedowns and endpapers, a.e.g. Trifle wear to binding extremities. Preserved in a dark brown cloth protective case. Very good. Item #1744
AN ELEGANT LIVERPOOL BINDING. While the workshop is still-unnamed, eighteen examples are known to us, including two bindings that were bound for two different Liverpool Lord Mayors. ¶ 1. Psalms (London, 1778) -- bound for Robert Landor, Church Warden of St. Paul's Church, 1782 --> now Boston Athenaeum ¶ 2. Bible (Oxford, 1772 -- two volumes) -- bound for presentation to Liverpool Mayor John Brown dated 1772 (Lathrop Harper Cat. 239 item 101 --> Christie's London 25 June 1997, lot 154) ¶ 3. Bible (Cambridge, 1768) -- Earls of Derby, Knowsley Hall Library (Lancashire, near Liverpool) --> Sale, Christie's London 1954 --> now Liverpool University Library (Knowsley 705) ¶ 4. Bible (Oxford, 1772 -- two volumes, as above) -- Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum (PML 12936) ¶ 5. Book of Common Prayer (Cambridge 1770) -- Maggs Cat. 966, item 154 ¶ 6. Book of Common Prayer (Oxford 1770) bound for presentation to George III -- Maggs Cat. 893, item 111 ¶ 7. Bible (London, 1767) bound for "M*B" (i.e. Maria Barclay, presented to her in NYC by her son-in-law Col. Stephen Delancy) ¶ 8. Book of Common Prayer (Oxford 1773) bound for Liverpool attorneys Richard Gerard and James Clemens "Gent. Bailiffs, 1773" (formerly Alice Welsh Skilling and Raymond Skilling Collection, Chicago, Illinois, sold Leslie Hindman auction, 6 Nov 2013, Lot 216) ¶ 9. John Morrison, The Advantages of an Alliance with the Great Mogul (London, 1774), British Library (280e18) ¶ 10. New Version of the Psalms (London, 1778) -- bound for Thomas Hutton, Gent. Bailiff, 1781 --> Clive Coates, Helperby Hall, Yorkshire --> now Richard Linenthal, London ¶ 11-13. Three vols. (at least) from a collection of more than 300 Liverpool related items sold at Bonhams 11 Nov. 2015, lot 67, including Psalm and Common Prayer books bound for John Dixon, St. Paul's Church Warden 1781; Thomas Hutton (see No. 10 above) and Joseph Birch, Gent. Bailiffs; Charles Pole, Edmund Rigby, Gent. Bailiffs 1783 (Richard Linenthal kindly drew my attention to this lot) ¶ 14. Bible (Cambridge, 1768, two volumes) -- bound for presentation to Liverpool slave trader John Sparling (1731-1800) --> Messrs. Peter Harrington as of 1/2020 ¶ 15. Book of Common Prayer (Oxford, 1793), early provenance indeterminate (Maggs Catalogue 1075, Part II no. 240. NB: in their description, Messrs. Maggs state that this binder was also responsible for the example published in their Catalogue 966 no. 191; I do not agree) ¶ 16. The present binding, executed in 1778 for William Pole, Esq. Mayor (of Liverpool from 1778-1779) dated 1778. Pole was Collector of Stamp Duties and Agent of the Sun Fire Office (a long biographical note appears in pencil on first blank leaf) -- subsequently in the library of noted Liverpool bibliophile and philanthropist Rev. S[amuel] A[shton] Thompson Yates (1843-1903), with his armorial bookplate. ¶ 17-18. Bible (London, 1775) 4to. + Book of Common Prayer (Cambridge, 1781) bound with Psalms (Cambridge, 1785) currently with Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts. NB: the two volumes were bound by the bespoke workshop using two sets of tools.
The work of an imitator of this binder, greatly inferior in technical ability, is found on a copy of the 1790 Oxford New Testament now in the British Library (C108c28) which is reproduced in the BL Bookbindings Database.
The names of early Liverpool bookbinders are few, but we have located two of them in Gore's 1766 "Liverpool Directory," namely Peter Wright (on Bixteth Street) and Richard Wright (on George Street). The work of the present binder was not within the scope of Ramsden's "Bookbinders of the United Kingdom (Outside London) 1780-1840. It would appear that the Wrights continued working in Liverpool for some time. According to Ramsden, the name Richard Wright appears in the 1777 and 1781 directories, and Peter Wright in the 1790 directory. In the 1793 records of burials at Our Lady and St Nicholas, Liverpool, a certain William Wright is listed as a bookbinder on Sweeting Street.
¶ This edition of the Psalms is scarce: ESTC (T206585) lists only 5 copies worldwide, none in America.