London: Library of Imperial History, 1976. First edition. Hardcover. This four-volume set is a compilation of most of Churchill's major forewords and periodical contributions, some of which can be otherwise found only in the original periodical publications. The essays are sorted by subject and each of the volumes has a theme - Churchill and War, Churchill and Politics, Churchill and People, and Churchill at Large.
In addition to being bibliographically important, The Collected Essays are aesthetically appealing. The production quality is impressive. There were two publisher binding options for The Collected Essays - both sumptuous and one positively extravagant. The lesser of the two was bound in quarter blue morocco and is lovely, but does not match the other 34 volumes of The Collected Works. The more elaborate binding option was full natural calfskin vellum with individual green slipcases, matching the 34 volumes of the preceding Centenary Edition of Churchill's book-length works.
The bindings feature Churchill's coat of arms stamped in gilt. The text is printed on special 500-year archival paper and decorated with marbled endpapers, all edges gilt, head and foot bands, and silk ribbon markers. Each volume is protected in a dark green leather slipcase with the Churchill coat of arms embossed in gilt on the front cover. Either binding of The Collected Essays is scarce, but this more elaborate binding is rarely seen alone, as it is essential to completing a uniform full set of The Collected Works.
This set is fine in very good slipcases. The volumes are clearly unread. The bindings show no wear and have toned with grace and individual character, as the vellum bindings were intended to do. The contents are absolutely crisp and perfect, with pleasingly stiff bindings and satin ribbon markers still in the original position placed by the publisher. There are no previous ownership marks. The only defects we note in the volumes are tiny bumps to the Volume I & II upper front corners corresponding to bumps to the accompanying slipcases. The green leather slipcases show a few corner bumps and short (no more than .75 inch) splits starting at a few upper edges. Despite these small flaws, the slipcases remain bright, clean, and intact.
Reference: Cohen A286, Woods/ICS A146(b), Langworth p.355. Item #003253