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JOHN RAMAGE. - The Torture Book.

n.p. [c1880?]. Oblong folio, 28x39cm, morocco album decorated and titled in gilt (a bit worn at the base of the spine, sometime recased); 29 heavy card leaves, with a handpainted title page; printed forms of which 21 pages have been filled in with ink, pencil and watercolour. Minor signs of use, smudges and browning. Loosely inserted a two page note by Mrs D. Ibbetson written in 1962 explaining that album was made by her grandfather - London bookbinder John Ramage - and filled in by members of the family. ¶ An elaborate hunk of Victorian whimsy that was embraced with enthusiasm and diligence by all that tackled it. I suspect that - even given that every educated gentleman and lady of Britain was handy with a pen and pencil - one didn't touch this album without confidence and plenty of spare time. Mrs Ibbetson wrote that her father could never be persuaded to make an entry. Each double page opening is ruled out so that contributors could write or draw their favourite motto, quality, hero, writers, food ... their least favourite quality and persons in history. Ramage was a binder to the gentry, among the handful of high class London binders of the second half of the 19th century. Talking about the difficulties of book collectors - "no harder people to please" - in The British Bookmaker, Ramage said that if he was asked to trim a book he saved and labelled the shavings so that disputes about over-trimming would not get out of hand. Ramage did the title page and the entry with the blue willow plate.
AUD 1250.00 [Appr.: EURO 793.75 US$ 897.31 | £UK 713 | JP¥ 101845] Book number 10394

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