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A special binding of the Rubaiyat rediscovered

June 17, 2020

Roger Paas has sent us a link to an article about a specially bound copy of the Rubaiyat recently acquired for the Bishop Collection, which is linked to Mosher Books.  The book in question is a 1900 edition published by Mosher, which was finely bound by a London bindery W J Morrell.  The article is available on https://thomasbirdmosher.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Omar-2020.pdf.  It tell the story of how Philip Bishop first missed the opportunity to acquire this unique copy and then, 27 years later, had a second chance to add it to the Bishop collection.

Paas Morrell binding 0620

The image above shows the qualities of this binding.  One of the interesting features of the work, which will be evident to many who know the early editions of the Rubaiyat, is how it reflects elements in the design of the Vedder Rubaiyat which appeared 16 years earlier.   Both are great examples of the art work inspired by the verses of Khayyam and FitzGerald.  Philip Bishop’s article tells something of the history of this book but we would love to know more about Morrell’s thinking behind this particular work, and their history general.  We have seen a few examples of other bindings from the firm, but we understand that they closed sometime in the 1990’s, having operated since the 1860’s.  If any readers know more about the firm and its work, please comment below.  And our thanks for Roger for this alert.

It is worth adding that The Mosher Press website, https://thomasbirdmosher.net/, contains valuable information on other special copies of the Rubaiyat, and relevant bibliographical material.  It is worth looking at.

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