Katharine Adams

Virgil (70–19 BCE).
Publii Vergilii Maronis opera.
Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1910. (10296)

The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach, Commonly Called Ecclesiasticus.
Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1932. (10201)

Katharine Adams (1862–1952) was among the most accomplished English book binders of the early twentieth century. She was raised near Kelmscott Manor in Oxfordshire, where her family was friends with William Morris, whose daughters encouraged her to pursue a career in fine binding. In 1898, after training briefly with Sarah Treverbian Prideaux and T. J. Cobden-Sanderson in London, Adams won first prize for book binding at the Oxford arts and crafts exhibition. Three years later she established the Eadburgh Bindery in Gloucestershire, which attracted many of England’s most discerning clients. In 1913, at age 52, she married a scholar named Edmund Webb. Elected president of the Women’s Guild of Art in 1935 and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1938, she continued to work as a binder into her eighties.

Adams was widely admired for her simple and technically accomplished gilt-leather bindings. Beginning in 1902 she produced some of her finest work for Charles H. St. John Hornby, the founder of the Ashendene Press, who became her lifelong friend and colleague. Exhibited are two examples from the total of more than one hundred bindings that she produced for Hornby between 1898 and 1933. In each of the exhibited bindings, the design of the front cover incorporates Hornby’s coat-of-arms.

<a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=50&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=10296">10296</a> <a href="/items/browse?advanced%5B0%5D%5Belement_id%5D=50&advanced%5B0%5D%5Btype%5D=is+exactly&advanced%5B0%5D%5Bterms%5D=10201">10201</a>