Item #006003 Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher. Winston S. Churchill.
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher
Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher

Marlborough: His Life and Times, the publisher's signed, limited, finely bound issue of the first edition, one of only five unnumbered sets and the only one marked "Presentation" and not only signed by Churchill, but also inscribed and dated by the publisher

London: George G. Harrap & Co., Ltd., 1933. Signed and limited issue of the first edition. Full leather. This signed, limited, and finely bound publisher's presentation set of Churchill's Marlborough would be remarkable for condition alone, but this is also one of just five unnumbered sets reserved by the publisher. This is the only one of the five known to be hand-marked as "Presentation". Churchill signed just below the limitation statement "Winston S. Churchill". But this copy is also inscribed by the publisher. Just above Churchill’s signature in the space where the limitation number would normally be written, the word “Presentation” is inked. On the half title, in four lines in the publisher’s hand, is inked the inscription “To Steve | from | George | 1933.”

Condition is excellent, approaching near fine. The spines are only lightly sunned, that of Volume I showing a few freckles. Light spotting appears primarily confined to the untrimmed fore edges, only occasionally and lightly encroaching into the text blocks. The card slipcases are fully intact with only light shelf wear, the back of the Volume II case slightly spotted.

As kindly confirmed by the Harrap family, “George” is George Steward Harrap, son of Harrap’s founder, George Godfrey Harrap, who died in 1938, the year the fourth and final volume of Marlborough was published. George Steward Harrap’s son stated it “highly likely” that “Steve” was the artist and illustrator Stephen Frederick Gooden R.A., R.E., C.B.E. (1892-1955), a close friend of the younger Harrap. Gooden not only illustrated a number of Harrap books – notably their Aesop and Rubaiyat – but also designed the elder Harrap’s bookplate, featuring a winged horse clearing the bar of an “H”. This was a clever conception, since a colloquial British term for horse was “gee-gee”, these being the initials of George Godfrey.

Churchill’s Marlborough is the only work by Churchill for which the publisher issued a signed, limited, and finely bound first edition. Harrap produced 155 signed sets, printed on thick, laid paper with untrimmed fore and bottom edges and sumptuously bound by Leighton Straker in reddish-orange Niger Morocco with gilt top edges, head and tail bands, and marbled endpapers. Volume I of each set was signed by Churchill on the limitation page and each volume was issued in a gray cardboard slipcase with paper spine labels, the Volume I labels also featuring the set number. Five sets were unnumbered, reserved as special gifts from either the author or publisher. Both Ronald Cohen and Richard Langworth cite the word “special” handwritten on the colophon. This set is the only one of the five known to be designated “Presentation” – presumably one of a kind.

Winston Churchill's biography of John Churchill was initially conceived a full 40 years before publication of the final volume. Churchill originally considered the idea of the biography in 1898, returning to it in earnest in 1928. Marlborough ultimately took 10 years of research and writing and is the most substantial published work of Churchill's 1930s "wilderness years". As he wrote, Churchill passed into his sixties with his own future as uncertain as that of his nation and may have wondered more than once if the life history he was writing might ultimately eclipse his own.

It has been said "To understand the Churchill of the Second World War, the majestic blending of his commanding English with historical precedent, one has to read Marlborough." Few would accuse Churchill of objectivity. Nonetheless, T. E. Lawrence wrote in praise upon finishing Volume I “It is history, solemn and decorative.” Upon reading the proofs, James Lewis Garvin, editor of The Observer, wrote “I think it to be… the greatest of all your works… Your full brush has never had more mastery over space and colour…” 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.

Reference: Cohen A97.1.a, Woods/ICS A40(a), Langworth p.168. Item #006003

Price: $27,500.00

See all items in Winston Churchill
See all items by