A fortnight ago I reported on a Sybil Pye binding for a copy of the first Vale Press publication, John Milton's Early Poems (April 1896). [Read more about this special binding.] The new owner has sent me some images to prove that the binding was made by Sybil Pye.
Marianne Tidcombe wrote: 'Her bindings are signed with a monogram stamp' ['SP'], 'and the date, inside the lower cover, nearly always towards the top of the fore-edge turn-in.'(*) That is indeed the case, only the date is missing here.
|John Milton, Early Poems (1896). Binding signed by Sybil Pye|
The inscription linking this book to the collector who commissioned the binding is as follows: 'from the books of Arthur & Margaret Gillett | 21.4. 1962'.
|John Milton, Early Poems (1896). Inscription|
The titles of quite a few Vale Press books are uncertain. The title on the binding often differs from the title on the opening pages (there are rarely any actual title pages), which in turn differs from the title in the colophon.
The Milton edition shows the same diversity.
Title on spine: MIL- | TON | EARLY | POEMS
Opening pages: MILTON | EARLY POEMS
Colophon: HERE end the Early Poems of John Milton.
Prospectus: THE EARLY POEMS OF JOHN MILTON
Bibliography (1904): THE EARLY POEMS OF JOHN MILTON
Pye's binding shows different variants again:
Title on spine: EARLY | POEMS OF | MILTON
Title on front and back cover: THE EARLY POEMS OF MILTON
(*) Marianne Tidcombe, Women Bookbinders 1880-1920 (Oak Knoll Press & The British Library, 1996), page 149.