Hand-illuminated presentation book to Vicar of Woburn, Bedfordshire
With stunning calligraphy and design, all pages hand-drawn, with ten photographs
This is a wonderful book presented by the inhabitants of Woburn to their out-going vicar, The Reverend Charles Russell Dickinson, in January 1913. It is bound in full red padded leather with simple gilt margins to the boards and gilt decoration to spine. The endpapers and pastedowns are watered silk, and with inner gilt dentelles and presentation bookplate to the front pastedown. The page are thick card, dyed red to the edges. 30 × 24cm, unpaginated (please see below). All pages are hand-illuminated.
The book consists of:
1. Presentation page. This page reads "Saint Mary's Parish Church, Woburn, Abbatiae Insignia, Presented to the Reverend Charles Russell Dickinson M.A. (T.C.D.) by the Undersigned Inhabitants of Woburn and other Friends". The lettering is hand-calligraphed text, some on the Gothic style, and hand-coloured and bordered by a hand-drawn design in the style of ecclesiastical architecture, the border is coloured in gilt and blue, and some areas of gilt have a small indentation in counter-relief as part of the design.
2. The second page has a simpler floral and gothic design margin in gilt and lighter colours with the hand-drawn text which reads "In the hope that their gift may sometimes remind him of the many Friends whom he has made as Vicar during the years 1900–1912, of their warm appreciation of the tact and sympathy with which he has fulfilled his important and difficult duties, of their sincere regret at his approaching departure and of their hope that he will find in his new sphere of work new and increased opportunities of rendering to others those many kindly servives which have endeared him to the Parishioners of Woburn, January 1913".
3. The next ten pages are a list of subscribers to this gift. Each page has a simple hand-drawn border in gilt and ink, and each name appears to have been painted in as the letters stand out in bas-relief. The names are alphavetical and run to approximately 400 names.
4. This is then followed by ten pages of original black & white photographic prints of Woburn church (inside and out), vicarage, games room etc.
Charles Russell Dickinson was an Irish cleric who trained at Trinity College, Dublin. He was also an accomplished athlete.
The red leather is in good condition but suffers from several small bumps and scuffs and is rubbed to the corners. The pages have light spotted foxing throughout but are in generally good, clean order. The inner binding is damaged, being split open but as the pages are thick card they sit quite comfortable in place. Two sheets are wholly detahced, another two very nearly so and a few others less so. The earlier pages are well-bound. Overall, a delightful and very attractive, unique item.
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