The Song of Songs Interpreted by Robert Gibbings and Eric Gill
The Song of Songs.
Waltham St. Lawrence, England: Golden Cockerel Press, 1925.
Printed by Robert Gibbings at The Golden Cockerel Press – Illustrations and engravings by Eric Gill – Compositors: F. Young, A. H. Gibbs – Pressman: A. C. Cooper
Among the most recognized presses to emerge in England in the 1920s was the Golden Cockerel Press. Having been started in 1920 by Harold Midgely Taylor (1893–1925) primarily as a venue to publish emerging young authors, the press found a new direction in fine printing and wood engraved illustrations when it was purchased in 1924 by Robert Gibbings (1889–1958). Rather than formatting the text as either prose or simple verse, Gibbings instead arranged it as if it were a playscript. The introduction explains the editorial perspective behind this decision, asserting that the Song of Songs “must in fact be regarded as the first opera, written with an avowedly popular appeal.” Gibbings, known as a wood engraver himself, printed the Song of Songs with engravings by the artist and typeface designer Eric Gill (1882–1940). The text was set in the Caslon Old Face type used exclusively from 1921 until 1931, when Gill designed the Golden Cockerel Press Type which became predominant, though not exclusive. This copy is number 367 in an edition of seven hundred fifty.