This limited luxury edition is one of six copies privately printed for J. Pierpont Morgan in London. The art historian George C. Williamson advised Morgan on some of his purchases and wrote three commissioned catalogues of Morgan's collection. The Museum owns a copy of each of these catalogues; this edition is the most luxurious, both for its binding and for its colored illustrations. Morgan began collecting works of art in the early 1900s. By his death in 1913, his collection was vast and generally considered one of the best in the world. Approximately forty percent of Morgan's collection came to the Museum, including many pieces illustrated in the Williamson catalogues, such as rings, rosaries and rosary beads, reliquaries, necklaces, pendant jewels, silver and niello medallions, portrait medallions, ivory and enameled caskets, buttons, seals, chalices, cups, perfume bottles, vases, clocks, and furniture. The Library's copy is bound in dark green levant morocco. The upper cover has an inlaid panel of green sharkskin, with finely wrought brass cornerpieces, a centerpiece, and two clasps decorated with images of dragons, griffins, grotesque heads, gargoyles, and an amethyst. The spine is gold-tooled and divided into six panels with five raised bands. The decorative inlaid and gold-tooled doublures show three Art Nouveau–style herons surrounded by floral sprays in gold.
Illustrated: fine jeweled bookbinding