Item #430 To the Lighthouse. Michael Wilcox, Virginia Woolf.
To the Lighthouse

To the Lighthouse

London: [The Hogarth Press] Published by Leonard & Virginia Woolf at The Hogarth Press, 52 Tavistock Square, London, W.C., 1927. First printing. Octavo, 19.3 x 13.5 cm. Finely bound in full green Nigerian goat by Michael Wilcox in 1973. Both covers are decorated with a restrained and elegant gilt quincunx design, set within a gilt frame. The frames on both covers are themselves framed by a continuous gilt single-line running along the top, bottom, and fore-edges. The points of the quincunx are circles enclosing floral roundels, suspended on three balanced vertical lines of gilt double-fillets. Six gilt framed compartments and five raised bands to the spine. The second compartment from the top is stamped with the title in gilt, the third with Woolf’s name, and the last with the year of publication. White, green, and brown sewn endbands. Cream, green, and brown Cockerell marbled endpapers. The edges and turn-ins are rolled in gilt. Wilcox’s rubber binder’s mark was stamped with characteristic subtlety to the top of the front free endpaper’s verso. Housed in a later green leather solander box, with marbled paper sides and lettering in silver to the spine. The box was made by another binder. pp. [6: blanks; plus 4] vii, [3] 11-319 [1, plus 4: blanks]. A fine copy. Printed in Edinburgh by R. & R. Clark, Limited and published May 5, 1927. The first printing comprised 3,000 copies. Second and third printings of the first edition were issued in June 1927 and May 1928 respectively (Kirkpatrick A10 a; Woolmer, 154; Connolly 100, The Modern Movement, no. 54). Michael Wilcox authenticated his binding in person shortly before his death. Item #430

“Re-examining one’s early work can be an embarrassing experience. But when I recently inspected my binding on To the Lighthouse, for the first time since completing it over forty-five years ago, I was relieved and a little surprised to discover that the workmanship and design quite pleased me. The binding is obviously very much influenced by the teachings of Douglas Cockerell: sewn onto five flexible raised cords, and with endpapers of Cockerell marbling on handmade paper dating from the nineteen-fifties. I had completely forgotten about the somewhat formal but uncluttered decoration I had chosen, even though I had not forgotten that it was this particular copy of a Virginia Woolf novel that provided me with my very first reading of that author. I was not a designer bookbinder in those days, and so I’m sure I must have felt a bit concerned about attempting to interpret the thoughts of such a celebrated modern writer. The solution was easy— no lighthouses! Instead, I decided on an arrangement of balanced lines that suspended the five impressions made by two small decorative tools. Its effect on me today is perhaps precisely what I had hoped to achieve all those years ago— one of a mind-clearing calm, which nicely serves as a preparation for listening to that so famous ‘stream of consciousness’ contained between the covers.” — Michael Wilcox.

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