[Order of Service at the Consecration of Coventry Cathedral 1962.]
( Geoffrey CLARKE ) COVENTRY CATHEDRAL.
SPLENDID ZAEHNSDORF BINDING FOR THE CONSECRATION OF THE 'PHOENIX' CATHEDRAL
Published: [Privately Printed], 1962
Stock code: 41240
Roy. 8vo., First Edition, title and text in red and black, with symbolic decorations in the text; splendidly bound in full straight-grain tan morocco BY ZAEHNSDORF, the upper board expertly inlaid in gilt and red as a facsimile of Geoffrey Clarke's Golden Cross, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, plain doublures, the boards lightly age-marked, lower board with three small (paint?) splashes else a near fine copy of a characteristically accomplished binding by a master craftsman.
THE BINDING IS SIGNED AS IS USUAL ON FRONT FREE ENDPAPER VERSO. IT IS LIKELY THAT THIS BINDING, COMMISSIONED AS IT WAS SPECIFICALLY FOR THE OCCASION, IS ONE OF A MERE HANDFUL OF COPIES, IF INDEED NOT UNIQUE. The splendid inlay on upper board is a skilful reinterpretation of Geoffrey Clarke's 'Golden Cross', commissioned by Basil Spence for the Cathedral Undercroft. Following its destruction in the Blitz of WWII, Coventry Cathedral was rebuilt between 1956 and 1962 to a design by Sir Basil Spence. Having achieved in the building a time-spanning fusion of 'arts & crafts' and modernism, Spence looked for artists to create his 'basket of jewels', a glittering procession of artworks reflecting the simple grandeur of the Cathedral as a whole. He settled first on two established masters: John Piper, for the glass for the Baptistry Window, and Graham Sutherland, who contributed 'Christ in Glory in the Tetramorph', reputedly the largest tapestry made in a single piece. To complement these and pieces by Epstein, Frink, Hutton and others, he then commissioned the young Geoffrey Clarke to design crosses for the High Altar and Undercroft. The latter piece emerged as the 'Golden Cross' - the focus of the present binding. AN EVOCATIVE AND RARE (POSSIBLY UNIQUE) EXAMPLE OF ZAEHSNSDORF'S CRAFTSMANSHIP.