James Branch Cabell : An Illustrated Bibliography

JURGEN: A Comedy of Justice

Hall Code
Golden Cockerel Press, Trial Binding (?) 1949


binding 1binding 2













Full Title:

[all enclosed in a woodcut border of leaves] JURGEN | A Comedy of Justice | by James Branch Cabell | with Wood Engravings by | John Buckland Wright | [woodcut device of a faun playing panpipes] | Printed in England at | The Golden Cockerel Press (see image above).

Copies nos. 1-100, the "Specials", include one extra illustration on the verso of the title page, which is blank in the "Ordinaries".


This edition of Jurgen with sixteen engravings by | John Buckland-Wright has been produced in 1949 by | Christopher Sandford at the Golden Cockerel Press, | London. It is limited to 500 numbered copies, of which | Nos: 1-100 are specially bound and contain one extra | engraving. No: ?? | [signed] John Buckland Wright.


Royal 8vo [25.5 cm. (10 in.) x 16 cm. (6 ΒΌ in.)], 350 pp. Printed with Caslon Old Face 14 pt type with Vesta titling on mould-made paper. (1) Blank leaf, (2) woodcut frontispiece; (3) title page (see above); (4) extra engraving; 5-6 foreword; 7-349 text; woodcut illustrations facing pp. 21, 39, 65, 81, 101, 121, 141, 167, 183, 215, 235, 257, 301, 331; colophon at p. 350.


Full scarlet morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, gilt decorations on front and rear panels. Top edge gilt, otherwise untrimmed. Five raised bands on spine: JURGEN | gilt device of cockerel.


Woodcut by John Buckland-Wright of Jurgen's meeting with the black gentleman (see image above).


Cabell dedicated Jurgen to Burton Rascoe with an acrostic verse, but the dedication was not included in this printing.

Dust jacket / Slipcase:

No dust jacket seen, and none noted in any bibliography. The slipcase is identical to the one for Jur-I1a, but in a darker red.


The "sixteen engravings" mentioned in the colophon include the frontispiece, engraved title page recto, and the fourteen illustrations interspersed into the text.

This binding, full scarlet morocco without the purple inlays, is not noted in any known bibliography. The present owner of this copy, James Freemantle, has graciously supplied The Silver Stallion with these photos. A clue as to why it exists is to be found in Christopher Sandford's discussion of Jurgen in Cock-A-Hoop:

I particularly liked the Specials, with John Buckland Wright's fantastic designs blocked in gold on the purple panels. Sangorski & Sutcliffe thought that I should dislike the juxtaposition of the scarlet and purple, but in fact these colours suggested to me the sort of robes that people of pomp and circumstance seem to wear, and I was delighted with the result. It was just what I wanted for this fond, lush, fantastic tale.1

Our assumption is that Sangorski & Sutcliffe took their opinion a bit farther than Sandford admitted in the passage above, and made at least one copy in the full scarlet they preferred.

1. Chambers, David, & Sandford, Christopher. COCK-A-HOOP: A sequel to Chanticleer, Pertelote, and Cockalorum, being a bibliography of the GOLDEN COCKEREL PRESS September 1949 - December 1961. Private Libraries Association, Middlesex. n.d. [1976], p. 16.