London: The Haworth Press, 1934. Signed and Numbered Limited Edition. Full Leather. This is among the rarest and most desirable books with contributions by Sir Winston S. Churchill. The publisher produced 50 signed and numbered copies of this aptly named "Deluxe Limited Edition". Each copy is numbered and signed by Churchill directly below the limitation statement. This is copy number 31 of 50. Each was bound in full chestnut Niger Morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe with exquisite attention to detail, including raised spine bands terminating in blind-stamped flowered hinge designs on the covers, gilt decoration to all edges, and blind-ruled turn-ins. The contents are printed on hand-made, water-marked, laid paper bound with head and foot bands, gilt top edge, and untrimmed fore and bottom edges. “BOUND BY SANGORSKI & SUTCLIFFE, LONDON” is gilt-stamped on the lower front pastedown turn-in. This venerable firm, founded by Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe in 1901, was a leading London bookbinder and, like Churchill himself, endured the First World War, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war austerity.
This copy is in very good condition. The binding is lightly soiled and modestly spine toned, but nonetheless remains fully intact, square and tight, the leather supple with no cracking and no appreciable scuffing or wear, the corners sharp, and the edge and spine gilt bright. The contents remain bright, as does the gilt top edge and untrimmed fore and bottom edges. We find no previous ownership marks. A trivial hint of spotting appears confined to the fore edges and we note browning at the perimeter of the endpapers where they have been in contact with the leather turn-ins.
Few works read by Churchill seem to have impacted his own writing so substantially. Churchill was the driving force behind publication of a 1934 reprint, which attracted the unique honor of not only Churchill's lengthy introduction, but also this publisher's limited edition signed by Churchill. It is noteworthy that the only work authored by Churchill for which a publisher's signed and finely bound limited edition was issued is Churchill's own history of Marlborough - which is of course the work so influenced by Paget.
John Paget's Examen was first issued in 1861 as a vindication of the Duke of Marlborough, openly critical of Macaulay. Between 1933 and 1938, Winston Churchill published his own extensive, four-volume biography of his great ancestor, John Churchill, the first Duke of Marlborough. The major impact of Paget's work on Churchill is well-documented. Upon returning a borrowed copy of the original Examen, Churchill wrote to Lord Rosebery in 1924: "I have now obtained another copy of my own by advertising, and I am very glad indeed to possess such a little known and deeply interesting book. It certainly has cleared away some of the difficulties that I had felt to eventually undertaking to write about 'Duke John'." (Gilbert, Companion Volume V.1, p.290). “Paget’s analysis of Macaulay’s calumnies – and… Churchill’s own researches… fired his family pride anew.” (Woods, Artillery of Words, p.111)
Marlborough: His Life and Times ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial literary work of Churchill's "wilderness years" in the 1930s. When Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, it was partly for “mastery of historical and biographical description” on the strength of Marlborough, which was specifically cited and quoted by the Swedish Academy. Arguably, this work and the accompanying accolades were catalyzed by Paget. In 1934, Churchill wrote a substantial, seven-page "Critical Introduction" to this new edition of Paget's Examen. In a letter to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin Churchill wrote: "I send you herewith Paget's Examen resurrected by my exertions. I think you shd keep it in yr library alongside of Macaulay, to which it is a necessary corrective and counterpart." (Gilbert, Companion Volume V.2, p.735)
Reference: Cohen B53.1, Woods B22. Item #004147