Binding for Gay's Fables

John Leighton, designer


Elaborate gilt blocking on navy blue cloth

7 x 4¼ x 1¼ inches

A typical Leighton design of the 1850s, combining arch humour in the form of the worldly monkey who reads of his own exploits and lyrical arabesques in the encircling vine. The droll mockery is continued on the spine, which shows a scene of the two owls and the sparrow. This proleptic imagery is found throughout Leighton's earlier work; though intended mainly for adult audiences, his imagery has a child-like quality which is both quaint and endearing, as if his bindings were directed at those of a naïve mentality.

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Photograph and text by Simon Cooke

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