The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House (1931)

Georgics, by the great Latin poet Virgil, was first published in 29 B.C.  ‘Georgica’ comes from a Greek word meaning “to farm”, reflecting the poem’s subject of agriculture.  Georgics is one of Virgil’s main works, along with Eclogues and the Aeneid. The work is influenced by models previously used by Hesiod and Lucretius. While at the surface it is written like a practical guide for farmers, in reality it contains a much deeper exploration of grander themes such as man’s relationship to the land and nature, the importance of hard work, the interplay between creativity and destructiveness, and praise for the rural life.

Virgil (70 B.C. – 19 B.C.) was certainly one of ancient Rome’s greatest poets and has had enormous influence on western thought and literature ever since (even famously being Dante‘s guide through hell and purgatory in the Divine Comedy). The works of Virgil were immediately popular in Rome and became part of the standard educational curriculum where it has largely remained ever since. Virgil was well known to Augustus, his Aeneid often being seen as symbolistic of the Augustian era, a celebration of the new Roman era. Virgil is said to have recited a few of the books directly to Augustus.

This edition from Cheshire Press is wonderful. I am hoping Books and Vines readers can tell me more about Cheshire Press.  A bit of research did not turn up much, other than they seemed to publish, in the early 1930’s, a number of classics (such as The Divine Comedy, Legend of Sleepy Hollow, The Scarlet Letter, Through the Looking Glass, Erewhon, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and The Fall of the House of Usher), in limited editions.  If this volume is any indication, they did a very nice job, with fine paper, nicely done type and excellent reproductions of illustrations.

About the Edition

  • Reprinted from the First Folio Edition of Dryden’s Collected Works of Virgil, published by Jacob Tonson in London, 1697
  • Twenty engravings reproduced from the originals in the first folio edition
  • Translation by John Dryden, along with his introduction and commentaries
  • Issued in observance of Virgil’s 2000th anniversary and the Dryden tercentenary
  • Designed and printed by Richard Ellis for Cheshire House, Publishers, New York
  • Quarter calf leather, brown paper covered boards
  • Publishers laid, watermarked paper, page fore-edges uncut
  • 14.5″ x 9.5″, 182 pages
  • Limited to 1200 copies

Pictures

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

{Ed. Note: Apologies for the so-so quality of the photographs; the pictures were taken in a book store, so lighting was not optimal. The beautiful copy below is at Book Gallery in Phoenix, for anyone who may be interested.}

The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Book in Slipcase
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Spine and Cover
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Cover
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Macro Side View
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Title Page
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Publishers Note
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Dryden’s Essay
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Dryden’s Essay Sample #2
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Sample Illustration #1 with Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Macro Sample Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Sample Illustration #2 with Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Sample Illustration #3 with Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Sample Illustration #4 with Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Sample Illustration #5 with Text
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Macro Text Sample #2
The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House, Colophon

5 thoughts on “The Georgics of Virgil, Cheshire House (1931)

  1. This comment is a bit late but although I am not familiar with the Cheshire Press I do know that Richard Ellis printed for many publishing houses and private collectors from his Georgian Press, a converted barn in Westport Connecticut.

    1. The previous poster’s comment was not populating when I posted mine, so it seems you are probably already aware of this.

  2. Beautiful book. The LEC edition is also very lovely, with wood engrfavings by Bruno Bramante I like even better (they can only be described as Art Deco-neoclassic style). This is a wonderful translation, though I know many can’t stand heroic couplets, I think they work very well for Virgil.

    I have never heard of this press either, but if it was a venture of Richard Ellis, it would be worth tracking down their works–he designed several books for George Macy as well, and the fine Random House Jane Eyre with Eichenberg’s illustrations.

Leave a Reply