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Title: A Selection of Psalm Tunes, accommodated to the new version for the use of Lincoln's Inn Chapel
Description: London: Engrav'd and Printed by S. Straight, 12 Hemmings Row, St. Martins Lane ?FIRST AND ONLY EDITION. Small folio, 266 x 160 mms., pp. [ii], 45 [46 blank], engraved throughout, contemporary straight-grain blue morocco, three gilt rules on borders, plain spine, with gilt identification on both covers, "T./ W. S./ Lincoln's Inn/ 1851"; front joint restored, and a very good copy with pink end-papers. Digital images of the BL copy show very clearly that theirs has a similar pattern of initials stamped on the front cover, but with a much earlier date: "T. / J. R. / LINCOLN'S INN. / 1822." In their catalogue entry, the BL librarians did not note the initials on the cover, let alone state what they stand for. Perhaps the binding simply seemed inscrutable, inconsequential, or both. With the surfacing of this copy, a shared pattern begins to emerge, and something of a mystery presents itself. Why such similar bindings, on the same book, with such disparate dates? Whose importance at Lincoln's Inn, in the early nineteenth century, would merit personalized gilt lettering on the bindings of their copies of the psalms sung in the community's chapel? The top letter in each case on the covers is a capital "T". The head of Lincoln's Inn was not called the Master, the President, or the Principal, but the Treasurer. The Treasurer in 1822 was the distinguished lawyer Jonathan Raine, K.C. (1763-1831). In 1851, the Treasurer was Walker Skirrow, Q.C (1784-1866). The initials on our copy would seem therefore to stand for "Treasurer / Walker Skirrow", and the initials on the BL copy for "Treasurer / Jonathan Raine". This provenances hints at a cryptic bookbinding tradition that existed, spanning decades, at the highest level of one of the most prestigious institutions of British law: it seems the head of Lincoln's Inn would receive a specially-gilt personalized copy of the psalms sung in the chapel of the Inn. This volume thus suggests that there was bookbinding tradition in a society of distinguished barristers that was hitherto unknown. Copac and OCLC locating only the one copy in the BL and give c. 1820 as a publishing date, but Straight's name does not appear in William B. Todd's A Director of Printers and Others in Allied Trades London & Vicinity 1800 - 1840. The date given on the covers of this copy would suggest that c . 1850 would be more accurate.

Keywords: psalms binding

Price: GBP 1045.00 = appr. US$ 1492.24 Seller: John Price Antiquarian Books
- Book number: 9291

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