Auction  August 5, 2017  Rebecca Rego Barry

Sangorski & Sutcliffe Jewelled Binding Goes to Auction

Courtesy of Bonhams.

Sangorski & Sutcliffe is synonymous with fine binding and is often hailed as the “Rolls Royce of Bookbinding.” At the turn of the twentieth century, Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe wowed their fellow craftsmen with elaborate and innovative leather binding designs. Ornate jewelled bindings—featuring inset semi-precious stones—became one of their specialties.  

Next month one of those sumptuous bindings is going to auction in New York. It is, according to Bonhams, a “fantastic example of a Sangorski & Sutcliffe jewelled binding … with 9 pearls and 3 rubies, and incorporating 9 sapphires, surrounded with a wreath of laurel enriched with 79 pearls.” And the inside is as beautiful as the outside: Bound within is an illuminated manuscript on vellum of Byron’s “Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte” accomplished by L. Fairfax Murray, an artist associated with the English Arts and Crafts movement. 

Notably, this book was once owned by Phoebe A.D. Boyle, a Brooklyn widow and prominent Sangorski & Sutcliffe collector. Boyle’s collection of 45 S&S jewelled bindings (and 31 illuminated manuscripts done by Alberto Sangorski, Francis’s brother) went to auction in 1923. “It was by far the greatest array of these masterpieces ever put together and can never be replicated,” wrote Stephen Ratcliffe, in a 2014 article for Fine Booksabout the Ransom Center’s renowned S&S collection

Perhaps not replicated, but some collector will have the opportunity to nab this one at least—for an estimated $40,000-60,000. 

About the Author

Rebecca Rego Barry

Rebecca Rego Barry is the author of Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds in Unlikely Places and the editor of Fine Books & Collections magazine.

Subscribe to our free e-letter!

Webform

Latest News

Experts Refute Alleged da Vinci Eye Condition
Researchers are refuting a 2018 theory that one thing that gave Leonardo da…
Dallas Museum of Art Establishes New Works on Paper Department
The Dallas Museum of Art has announced the establishment of the Works on Paper…
Turner Prize Winners Opt to Split Award
The four nominees–Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Helen Cammock, Oscar Murillo, and Tai…
Odd Lots: A Rare Peek at Jerry Garcia’s Artwork
Any Grateful Dead fan will attest to Jerry Garcia’s power as a musician, but…
A Monument that Challenges the Meaning of the Flag
A performative installation, the flags intentionally break and manipulate the…