Lot 45 of 221:
A stunning custom binding by Philip Smith  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$10,200
$7,000 - $10,000

New Directions in Bookbinding [&] The Book: Art & Object - finely bound by Philip Smith

Smith, Philip

London & Surrey

Studio Vista & Merstham

[1974] & 1982


2 volumes in 1. Illustrated. (4to) 30x21 cm (11¾x8½") finely bound by Philip Smith in full tan morocco with modeled onlays in various colors, the upper board with a 'V' shape opening revealing a painted scene set into the suede of the free endleaf, a similar painted scene set into the rear board, full modeled morocco doublures, all edges marbled. With a felt bag, clear Plexiglas slipcase and custom wooden case.

A remarkable binding by Smith, described by him in an inserted sheet of "Artist's Notes" at the rear: 

"The idea of 'new directions' is suggested in the 'infinite regress' of the images, while the concept of the book as 'art and object' is suggested in the painting and sculpting features: this is a new treatment of the one-off hand-made book in an age when it is no longer necessary to bind books by hand for the general reading public - a new approach has long been necessary in this mainly 'traditional' craft justifying the continuance of it (if any justification is required). The purposely rugged effect moves away from the graphic 'reliure a la francaise" style. the 'object' nature of this kind of work is further enhanced by its incorporation in a display container made by Robert Ingham. 

The painting is with acrylic-based pigments and the modeling is with epoxy putty (the peaks are re-inforced over the millboard base with 2.5 mm brass rods) and covered with 'maril' and feathered leather onlays. Other new features include the shaped double-core headband with the shaped cap, and the set-off markings from the puckered doublures enriching the suede flyleaves..." 

A similarly bound copy of this combined pair of works resides in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

Lot Amendments

The wooden outer case has some cracking where the locking mechanism contained within the lid meets with its counterpoints in the opening of the case; volume fine.

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