The Parkwood set of the Nonesuch Dickens lives upon one and a half shelves and sits nicely among the rest of the books within the collection, but this series of twenty four books, plus one folio, is a limited edition set of works published in 1937, among a lot of only 877 sets produced.
Physically the set is quite pretty and colourful, perhaps too colourful for the leather bound book lover, with its series of different colour buckram covers, and black morocco spine labels lettered in gilt. However, the hand-made linen pages have their top edges defined in gilt, while inside these colourful covers lives a medley of engraved titled vignettes and plates, illustrations that were selected by Dickens himself to accompany his stories. According to Grace Barham, "Charles Dickens had been closely involved in the choice of each illustration, and his relationships with his illustrators were crucial to his creativity" and the Nonesuch edition was able to ensure that this aspect was part of their publication in 1937.
What further adds to the historic value of this set of books is that the actual text was printed from the original woodblock and steel plates used by Dickens original publishers, Chapman and Hall, "the very last editions which Dickens had revised himself, and Nonesuch added “every authentic scrap of his writing which has been collected since his death”.
"The Nonesuch Press was one of several deluxe publishers that aspired to the aesthetic standards of the private press movement. Founded in 1922, the Nonesuch Press had a similar aim to William Morris’s Kelmscott Press: to produce artistically designed volumes that demonstrated a care and love for the book, the materials used, and the process of production", although where Nonesuch differed from the arts and crafts presses was that although they hand designed publications they still printed on a trade press.
|Chirp The First|
Oh if these walls and shelves could talk!