ZAEHNSDORF, Joseph W. ~ The Art of Bookbinding.
First edition, signed by the author on the final front blank. One of 50 copies printed on large paper for private circulation. 10 photo-lithographic plates from bindings owned by the author, and numerous woodcut illustrations in text. 8vo., in a contemporary binding by Zaehnsdorf of full rich red crushed morocco with rectangular panels on sides with quadruple gilt fillets and a surrounding tooled border with fleurons at each corner, the edges of the boards with a single gilt fillet, spine in compartments with raised bands, titled and dated in gilt in second and third panel and dated in gilt at the bottom of the spine, the other compartments ruled with triple gilt fillets and fleurons in the middle of each panel, turn ins with gilt roll and six line gilt fillets, crimson silk doublures, signed in gilt on upper turn-in and with the Zaehnsdorf exhibition binding stamp on the lower, top edge gilt, others uncut. Housed in an early pull-off box of green cloth and marbled paper interior. In superb condition. Small oval red morocco and gilt booklabel of the Brick Row Bookshop on front pastedown.
Joseph Zaehnsdorf senior (1816-1886) was both in Austria-Hungary, coming to London in 1837 where he was taught to bind by a notable binder called James Mackenzie in London. He set up in business on his own account in 1844 at 2 Wilson Street, later moving to Brydges St in Covent Garden. He exhibited to great acclaim in London, Ireland and Vienna and was known for his immaculate fine bindings.
His son Joseph William Zaehnsdorf learned well from his father and published this treatise on binding in 1880 in the hope that it would “stimulate the public to study the binding of their books more closely, and give the binder a better chance of producing stronger and better finished work at a more advanced price”, noting that “good work cannot be done at low cost”. He provides details regarding the materials and designs used by the Zaehnsdorfs and showed the complicated and time-consuming processes involved in making a fine binding. It became a vital manual for students of bookbinding everywhere.