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book - Silverpoints by John Gray

Silverpoints by John Gray

  • Object:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 122c, case 3

Physical description

Silverpoints by John Gray, Charles. Ricketts (Book designer.), Elkin Mathews and John Lane (Publisher.)
Publication year:1893
London : E. Mathews and J. Lane, 1893.
Physical Description: xxxviii pages ; 21 cm Language: English Staff View: MARC Record OCLC Number: 5740641 Contents: Poems.
Subjects: English poetry 19th century.
English poetry.
Poems England 1893.
Genre: Poems.
Notes: Decadent poems.
Gilt design by Charles Ricketts to front and rear covers.
In its unusual format, designed and decorated by Charles Ricketts, the gold flame motif on the green cover of the narrow, slender volume has symbolic significance, as G. A. Cevasco writes: "The green and gold have special meaning, for in virtually each poem of the twenty-nine making up the volume, there is some allusion to nature or plants; but as though to imply the superiority of art over nature, the gold pattern dominates the green colour". The text printed in italics with extremely wide margins contains some of the most notable Decadent poems of the 1890s, such as "The Barber" and "Mishka" .
Limited edition of 250 copies.
National Art Library copy is no. 185.
Quintessential highpoint of British 1890s bookmaking.
Tall slender octavo. Green cloth stamped in gilt on both covers with the title in the upper left-hand corner and an overall pattern of wavy water lines and willow leaves by Charles Ricketts. In a felt-lined, gilt-stamped clamshell case of tan cloth over. Designed in the shape of Persian saddle books by Charles Ricketts, R.A.

Descriptive line

Silverpoints by John Gray, Charles. Ricketts (Book designer.), Elkin Mathews and John Lane (Publisher.) Publication year:1893

Labels and date

SILVERPOINTS by John Gray 1893

This book of poems marks a high point in commercial book design. The cover, by Charles Ricketts, uses a leaf motif and green cloth to evoke the references to nature and plants that can be found in each poem. The pattern was much admired and imitated in books, wallpapers and dress fabrics.

Case bound in green cloth, with gilt decoration
Written by John Gray (born in London, 1866, died in Edinburgh, 1934); cover designed by Charles Ricketts (born in Geneva, 1866, died in London, 1931) Published by Elkin Matthews & John Lane, at the sign of the Bodley Head, London
Given by W.J.E. Apted
National Art Library no. 38041800491490


National Art Library; British Galleries; Books


National Art Library

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