This is the two-volume 1876 First Edition of Thomas Hardy’s The Hand of Ethelberta, A Comedy in Chapters, (322 + 318 pages), printed by Spottiswoode for the Smith, Elder and Company publication.
These have been recovered by the prestigious bindery Bayntun (Bath), as indicated by their stamp to a blank front end page in each volume. The (8.25″ x 5.25″) covers, full green leather with extensive gilt decoration and lettering, author and volume number in red backgrounds, are in very good overall condition, with some wear to the top spine edge in Volume I, and light scuffs to both, but no prominent stains or notable tears. The gilt is unfaded. The spines are straight and securely connected. There is no play to the hinges of the front or back covers.
The marbled inside cover spreads, cover edges wrapped with gilt, are clean and unfaded, with no attachments or writing, no stains or tears. The page edges, gilt all-around, are bright, clean and without tears. There are no stamps or attachments in either volume. There are a few pencil notations, but no ink or other indelible marks. The pages are almost uniformly clean, with occasional light discolorations, but with no such flaws to almost all pages.
These volumes do not have ad pages. The bindings are tight, with no loose or missing pages. There are no page tears or creases. All text, and the eleven George Du Maurier illustrations, are as new.
The above photos are accurate reflections of the book conditions.
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