SMYTH, Dorothy Carlton. GLASGOW SCHOOL OF ART. CHIVERS OF BATH. ~ The Sundering Flood by William Morris.
First trade edition. Pp. viii, frontispiece map, 374,  (publisher’s catalogue). 8vo., ‘vellucent’ painted binding by Dorothy Carlton Smyth for Cedric Chivers of Bath, full green vellum, spine and front lettered in black with Smyth’s “Dodo” signature to foot of spine, sides with wave and fish in black and white, four roundels on sides depicting characters in the book, two gilt fillets at edges, central panels borders in gilt, turn-ins with floral gilt tooling, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, endpapers green with silk at gutters, blind stamp of Cedric Chivers on first blank. Front board very mildly bowing, a couple of faint marks to vellum, occasional light foxing but generally in remarkably good condition.
Dorothy “Dodo” Carlton Smyth (1880-1933), born in Glasgow, trained under Walter Crane at the Manchester School of Art between 1893 and 1897 and then went on to study at the Glasgow School of Art between 1898 and 1904 when she did this binding.
Cedric Chivers of Bath had patented his ‘vellucent’ binding method in 1898 which involved hand-painting on paper and subsequently covering the binding in vellum which has been shaved down until it was transparent which protected the painting. In his bindery, according to Tidcombe p.86, he employed “about forty women for folding, sewing, mending and collating work, and in addition, five more women worked in a separate department, to design, illuminate and colour the vellum”. The five included Smyth, one of the most prolific of those women, and Jessie M King. a fellow Glasgow School of Art graduate. This binding is particularly rare as it is signed by the artist.
As well as her work for Chivers, Smyth travelled and exhibited widely, being also known for her costume design and working in theatres in Stockholm, Paris and London. She later took on teaching roles at the Glasgow School of Art, specialising in teaching miniature painting and the history of costume.