Publisher's contemporary green cloth binding, by John Leighton, with elaborate gilt decoration to covers and spine. Illustrated with 11 full-page steel engravings, after John Hayter and others, interspersed with supporting biographical letterpress pages typically 2pp per plate. 4to - 29.7cm x 22.4cm.
Good only condition (4th tier down in a 6 tier classification). Covers and gilt decoration bright, with light sunning to edges and spine, and a couple of very small blemishes. Gutter percha is perishing (as is typical with these decorative mid-Victorian bindings for some reason), resulting in a couple of leaves at the front and most leaves at the rear detached from the spine, but all still present and correct. Varying degree of foxing to some text pages and a few plates; verso of frontis.
And recto of three plates with moderate to quite heavy foxing, and several lesser foxed, and a couple with next to no foxing. Please ask if you require a more detailed condition report, or view gallery images. A scarce example of this unusual Victorian annual plate book celebrating the beauty of a select group of young female aristocrats, with a series of 11 steel engravings. A few of the women are unmarried and highly eligible, and it is very likely that eligible bachelors of a lofty social status would have browsed these pages for a potential wife. In our view, a sort of elite introduction guide, if you will, though highly discrete in nature!
The book's title'The Court Album' may well be a play on'courting'. The binding itself is a work of art, with the covers and spine elaborately gilt, incorporating a design of a young maiden sitting under a parasol lamp next to a cherub playing lute, surrounded by ferns or leaves. The front and rear covers are signed'JL' (in small capital letters beneath the central illustration)to signify the decorative binder John Leighton. Rare - Copac lists just 4 copies.