1886. London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co. January 1886 - October 1888 [and] London: The Chiswick Press, January 1889 - October 1892.
4to. 28 volumes illustrated by woodcut and photogravure, in the original printed wrappers. Expectable browning to the untrimmed edges and occasional foxing and offsetting; issue no. 9 front wrapper spotted and rear wrapper very creased; issue 12 slight red staining to rear wrapper; issue 21 upper wrapper torn with large loss; issue 28 lower wrapper soiled and with a large chip. Despite the few flaws listed above the overall condition is in general clean and quite beautiful, remarkably well-preserved for a large format, elegant journal in its original wrappers. All enclosed in modern cloth boxes.
§ A complete run of the main series of the Century Guild Hobby Horse, the first significant magazine dedicated to the visual arts in England, preceding both the The Yellow Book and The Savoy and more egalitarian than either in its mission to create a unified vision of the arts and crafts in Victorian Britain.
The quarterly magazine was the collaboration of architects Arthur Mackmurdo and Herbert Horne and the designer Selwyn Image, who together formed the small but influential Century Guild of Artists. It featured essays on the fine and decorative arts, architecture, literature, typography, book design and collecting, along with much original poetry. The Guild members were clearly well-connected, particularly with the Pre-Raphaelites, and regular contributors included W.M. Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, and Frederic Shields. Oscar Wilde contributed an essay on Keats, May Morris one on embroidery, and William Morris' lecture on "The Influence of Building Materials upon Architecture" appeared for the first time in print in its pages. There is an essay by Hubert Parry on English song writing, original poetry from Matthew Arnold and Christina Rossetti, and several essays by Alfred Pollard on book design. The contributors were particularly interested in the influence of William Blake and different issues featured several very important Muir facsimiles as well as the first typographic printing of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
A prepublication issue had been printed by George Allen for Mackurdo in 1884. After Mackmurdo and Image stepped away at the end of 1892, the magazine was renamed simply The Hobby Horse and survived for two more years before ending in 1894, the year The Yellow Book first appeared. Neither the prepublication issue, nor these later issues are included in this series.
An ambitious and quite beautiful production, suffused with the spirit of the Arts & Crafts movement, the issues are finely printed on handmade paper at the Chiswick Press, illustrated with woodcut decorations and with photogravures of notable artworks. From the frontispiece art reproduced with the permission of many famous names, to the appended directories of recommended craftsmen and women (May Morris, William Muir, W.M. Rossetti among them) the issues form a rich record of the thoughts and activities of a fascinatingly intertwined group of artists, authors, and designers, in the act of revolutionizing the visual arts in England.
Complete runs like this are very uncommon in institutions and in the trade. Item #122998