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SPENCE, Basil.

Phoenix at Coventry.

The Building of a Cathedral.

Published: London: Geoffrey Bles, 1962

Stock code: 109654

Price: £275

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This item is on show at 100 Fulham Road (map)

First edition, first impression. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author to “John Crittall, with my grateful thanks for your contribution to the Cathedral, Basil Spence, Christmas 62” on the title-page. Crittall Windows provided the bronze frame for the engraved-glass nave screen designed by John Hutton. “Spence learned, in August 1951, that he had won the competition to rebuild the cathedral at Coventry which had been reduced to a shell by incendiary bombs in 1940. The competition attracted over 100 entries … By the time Coventry Cathedral was consecrated by the queen in 1962, Basil Spence had become a household name. His cathedral, though orthodox in plan and structurally more theatrical than essential for the needs of gravity, had a modern spirit and one which was distinctly British in character” (ODNB).

Square octavo. Original yellow-green cloth, titles to spine gilt on black ground, phoenix motif gilt to front cover, patterned endpapers. With the dust jacket. 32 half-tone and 10 colour plates from photographs. Spine-ends very faintly bumped, light foxing to top edge. An excellent copy in the dust jacket with a toned and slightly nicked spine.

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