ASHENDENE PRESS. SPENSER, Edmund. ~ The Faerie Queene disposed into Twelve Books Fashioning XII. Morall Vertues. Together with: The Minor Poems of Edmund Spenser.
Two volumes. One of 180 copies & 200 copies respectively on Batchelor 'knight in armour' paper, (there were also 12 & 15 copies printed on vellum). Printed in double column in red, blue (particularly in the Minor Poems) and black in Subiaco type with large initials printed in red and blue designed by Graily Hewitt, who also designed the opening words for each Booke of the Faerie Queene. The Greek type which appears occasionally designed by Selwyn Image for Macmillan. Folio, original brown cowhide backed ivory vellum sides bound in the WH Smith bindery with their monogram in blind on the lower turn-ins, gilt lettering on spine. Faeire Queene with a little rubbing to spine and headcaps and some spotting to endpapers and edges, slight offset from the turnins otherwise very good; Minor Poems with expertly repaired joins and some rubbing and wear to spine, lower corners bumped, offset from booklabel dn turn-ins, edges darkened, otherwise good. Prospectus for the Faerie Queene tipped onto the front free endpaper.
The paper for these volumes is larger in size than any used before at the Press and in the Bibliography Hornby begs any future binders to leave it alone and not trim it down thus spoiling his carefully designed proportions of the margins. The Minor Poems was the last of the Ashendene Press Folios printed in Subiaco type and it was a stupendous swansong with the superb balance of the lines of poems in two columns and with the fine colour printing and large initials.
The Faerie Queene, written in the 1590s by Spenser is one of the longest poems in the English language. It follows Arthurian knights in the examination of 12 moral virtues and was a huge success in its time owing to Elizabeth I's political approval of its noble and virtuous teachings and its celebration of the Tudor dynasty. Quite a text to undertake. It took Hornby nearly two years to print it.
Faerie Queene with the bookseller’s label of Philip Duschesnes of New York on lower pastedown, Minor Poems with the leather booklabel of Leroy Arthur Sugarman on front pastedown.