Boundby Katharine Adams
for Charles H. St John Hornby
Virgil (70–39 BCE).
Publii Vergilii Maronis opera. Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis.
Chelsea: Ashendene Press, 1910.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, women were well represented in the binding trade. Katharine Adams (1862–1952) made this elegant gold-tooled goatskin binding for Charles H. St John Hornby, the founder of the Ashendene Press. Largely self-trained, Adams enjoyed the patronage of several private presses, including the Doves Press, the Ashendene Press, and the Kelmscott Press. Her most significant works date from the first quarter of the twentieth century, although she continued to bind books until her death. She produced some of her finest work for books from the Ashendene Press, whose founder became one of her first clients and a lifelong friend. Bridwell Library owns several books that Adams bound for Hornby, including the Ashendene Press Ecclesiasticus
(1932), in which Hornby wrote “This is the last of some 60-70 bindings which she did for me in the course of her working life.” Actually, Adams produced over one hundred bindings for Hornby, out of an estimated lifetime total of about three hundred bindings.