Item #3781 [ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim. Eric Gill.
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim
One of Gill's masterpieces, in a designer binding by Jeff Clements

[ERIC GILL'S EROTIC "SONG OF SONGS"]. Canticum Canticorum Salomonis Quod Hebraice Dicitur Sir Hasirim

Weimar: Cranach Presse, 1931. First Edition. 8vo (258 x 130mm). 31 pp., 1 f. (colophon). Printed in red and black, 11 wood-engraved illustrations (of which 7 are full-page) and 18 decorative initials by Eric Gill. Bound by Jeff Clements (his discrete stamped-signed initials dated '90 inside lower cover). Front and back covers decorated with onlays of Cubist geometric shapes with light brown, brown, orange, dark green and dark brown morocco, bisected with two rules of light blue; four binder's blanks at the front and back, top edges gilt, others untrimmed; grey cloth solander box lined with blue felt (minor soiling to box). Fine. Item #3781

The sensual woodcuts in the present volume represent Eric Gill's most erotic interpretation of the Christian Bible. According to Tracy Bergstrom, "The Cranach Press's Canticum canticorum Salomonis represents a high light in the history of modern book design and fine press printing; the volume's unusual format, combined with Eric Gill's illustrations and the use of Jenson antiqua type, create a striking and memorable work. The publication of Canticum canticorum Salomonis also marked a turning point in the working relationship between Gill and the publisher of the Cranach Press, Harry Graf Kessler. Although Kessler has been previously portrayed in scholarly publication as the dominating force behind Canticum canticorum, Salomonis, a close examination of their personal correspondence and interactions reveals that Gill increasingly began to assert artistic independence in their collaboration and determined many significant aspects of the volume's style. Gill's long-standing interest in the text of the "Song of Songs" and its mixture of eroticism and spirituality, combined with his desire to experiment with method and technique, resulted in a project for which Gill guided the selection of text, illustration program, and salient aspects of the book's production." (SEE: Bergstom, "As Choice as Could Be: Eric Gill, Harry Graf Kessler, and The Cranach Press's Canticum canticorum Salomonis" in: Design Issues, 28:1, Winter 2012, p. 3).

Copy 145 of 200, designed by Harry Kessler and printed in Jenson Antiqua type. According to Kessler himself, "it is one of the most beautiful series of illustrations produced in modern times" (see Skelton, Eric Gill: The Engravings). Latin, German, and French language editions were issued. While some copies are marred by light foxing, ours is perfect.

The binder, Jeff Clements, has exhibited with Designer Bookbinders in Europe, America and Japan. He was elected to the Guild of Contemporary Binders (later: Designer Bookbinders) which he directed from 1981-1983. His fine bindings are often bound in goatskin with inlays and onlays (as here). His work is esteemed for its bold, inventive presentation and technique. His bindings can be found in major public and important private collections in Europe and the United States.

Provenance: Sotheby’s London, 20 June 1985, lot 255 -- to Charles W. Traylen, Guildford, Surrey, on behalf of Lord Wardington -- sold with the Wardington Library Bibles Collection at Sotheby’s London, 12 July 2006, lot 257. With the WB bookplate inside lower cover.

Garvey, Artist and the Book 121 ("another of the Cranach Presse books designed and printed with great distinction"). Gill 284. Muller-Krumbach Katalog 57.

Price: $8,500.00