Publisher: George Allen, Orpington & London;
Date of Publication: 1890
Stock Code: 5700
PRESENTATION COPY. Octavo, pp xii, , 283. 21 plates, plus illustrations within text. Finely bound by Zaehnsdorf. Deep purple half morocco; 5 raised bands, gilt titles and decoration to compartments, gilt ruling and marbled boards. Teg, marbled endpapers. Edges lightly rubbed with minor wear at corners; minor bump to lower edge of upper board. Prize plate to front paste-down, awarded to “Ethel Hughes for Ruskin May Queen Festival 1899” and signed by Principal of Whitelands College John Faunthorpe, May Queen of the year Agnes Gourlay and by “Joan Ruskin Severn on behalf of John Ruskin”. Contents clean and tight. A very good example in a handsome binding.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) collaborated with the Principal of the teacher training establishment at Whitelands College, John Faunthorpe, to found a May Queen festival which incorporated Old English pagan elements like Maypole Dancing and garland bearing with High Church Anglican ceremonies. The May Queen was elected each year by fellow students and led a pageant of maidens clad in white gowns bearing wands; one of her duties as Queen was to distribute volumes donated by Ruskin as prizes at the event. Ruskin died in 1900 and in 1899 his cousin and housekeeper Joan Ruskin Severn signed the May volumes on his behalf, owing to his final illness. Eventually the college was incorporated into the University of Roehampton, and the Whitelands College May Day Festival continues today, with the addition of a May King to bring it up to date.