The Lives of Gallant Ladies. Volume 1




Special Collections DC 112 A1 BT438 1924. Reproduced by permission of the Robert Gibbings Estate and the Heather Chalcroft Literary Agency



Waltham St Lawrence, Berkshire: The Golden Cockerel Press


The Golden Cockerel Press (GCP) was founded in 1920 by Harold Taylor and his wife Gay. The Taylors experienced only modest success and when Harold had a relapse of tuberculosis at the end of 1923 they had to sell up. At the same time Robert Gibbings was working on the ten wood engravings for Pierre de Bourdeille’s Lives of Gallant Ladies for GCP and felt disappointed he might lose his commission. So he lent money from a family friend, purchased the business for £850 and moved his wife, Moira and their children Patrick (b. 1920) and Brigid (b. 1923) to the GCP premises in Waltham St Lawrence in Berkshire in early 1924. Bourdeille’s Lives, written around the early 17th century, was a memoir of court life and was considered to be ‘risqué’ in 1920s England. It was therefore ‘Privately Printed for Subscribers Only’ and the name of the translator, ‘HM’, was disguised.


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Pierre de Bourdeille, “The Lives of Gallant Ladies. Volume 1,” | OUR Heritage, accessed July 22, 2024,