Item #006880 Lord Randolph Churchill. Winston S. Churchill.
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill

Lord Randolph Churchill

London: Macmillan and Company, 1906. First edition, only printing. Hardcover. This is a collector’s prize – the two-volume first edition, only printing of Winston Churchill's biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, each volume in its original dust jacket.

This first edition is aesthetically pleasing, featuring deep red cloth, untrimmed page edges, and gilt stamping, including the Churchill coat of arms in gilt on the front covers. However, the red cloth binding of this edition proved quite susceptible to fading and wear and the contents to heavy spotting. First edition sets are not especially uncommon, but collector worthy sets are elusive and entirely unfaded sets are virtually unknown without the dust jackets. The jackets are printed in dark blue on gray-blue laid paper. The front faces feature only the printed title, the rear faces advertise a list of “Macmillan & Co.’s New Books”, and the spines feature title, author (with “Spencer” spelled out), and volume number above the price and an ornately illustrated publisher’s device. The jacket flaps are blank. To call the dust jackets “rare” is understatement; only five jackets total are known to survive – two for Volume I and three for Volume II. Here, then, is forty percent of the known total and one of only two complete jacketed sets.

This jacketed set is exceptional. The bindings are, as one would expect, the brightest we have encountered, the red cloth entirely unfaded, the gilt vividly bright. The bindings are square and tight with only light shelf wear to extremities, three of the Volume I corners with small bumps. Set against even the brightest unjacketed examples, these bindings make a distinct and favorable contrast. The contents remain crisp and bright, retaining a crisp, unread feel. We find no previous owner names. Differential toning to the endpapers corresponding to the dust jacket flaps corroborates what the bindings already testify – that this copy has spent life jacketed. The chief defect is one endemic to the edition – spotting, light and intermittent generally, heavier to the first and final leaves, and apparent to the otherwise clean page edges.

The simple fact that the dust jackets are present defies the mundanities of a condition report. Nonetheless, both jackets are substantially complete, with print intact, though with perimeter losses and wear. Both jacket spines are evenly toned, though all print remains distinct. The “36/- NET” price on each lower spine shows multiple bisecting pen lines, as if half-heartedly scratched out long ago by a bookseller. The Volume I jacket shows perimeter losses to the spine ends, upper edges, and corners, the worst being a .75 inch (1.9 cm) loss to the upper rear hinge. The Volume II jacket likewise shows loss to the spine ends, upper rear face, and corners, as well as a small loss to the lower front hinge adjacent to the printed price. The most significant Volume II jacket losses are an irregular strip loss to the spine head to a maximum depth of .5 inch (1.3 cm) and a triangular loss to a maximum depth of .5 inch (1.3 cm) at the lower rear hinge. The jacket has a 2 inch (5.1 cm) split to the lower front flap with minor associated chipping and a .625 inch (1.6 cm) closed tear and attendant wrinkling to the bottom edge of the rear face. Both jackets are protected beneath clear, removable, archival covers.

The set is housed in a custom quarter Morocco goatskin Solander featuring a rounded and hubbed tan leather spine with gilt-framed raised bands and twin dark red Morocco spine labels over dark red cloth sides and interior.

Winston Churchill’s biography of his father focuses on Lord Randolph's career in Parliament after 1880. Lord Randolph died in January 1895 at age 45 following the spectacular collapse of both his health and political career. Winston was 20 years old. When he first contemplated writing his father's biography Winston Churchill was an itinerant soldier and war correspondent who had yet to write his first book. The son still dwelt very much in his father's shadow, both emotionally and in terms of the political career to which he already aspired.
 
By the time Lord Randolph Churchill was published in 1906, the young Winston Churchill already had half a dozen books to his credit and half a decade in Parliament. By 1906 Churchill had already left his father's political party, prevailed in the same political battle that had terminated his father's career, and was just two years from his first Cabinet post. Nonetheless, that Churchill would be selected as biographer by Lord Randolph's executors was not a foregone conclusion. Churchill first entertained the idea soon after his father's death, but it was not until late in 1902 that he was appointed.
 
Churchill then spent two and a half years researching and writing. We can assume that it was not only a major literary effort, but an emotional one as well. Of the work, Churchill wrote to Lord Rosebery on 11 September 1902 "It is all most interesting to me - and melancholy too" (R. Churchill, Companion Volume II, Part 1, p.438). Churchill was criticized by some reviewers for overplaying his father's accomplishments. Nonetheless, the work was well received both as a frank portrayal of Randolph's extremes and as a showcase for the son's literary talent.
 
Reference: Cohen A17.1, Woods A8(a), Langworth p.69. Item #006880

Price: $18,500.00

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