Testetur arca, testetor liber, gratos Radleiensium animos erga Arturum Capel Molineux Croome, A.M. qui ipse in campo spectatissimus per XX annos ita lusibus puerorum incumbebat, ut studiis promovendis praecipue consulere vellet
Let this casket provide evidence, and may this book bear witness, that the minds of Radleians are grateful to Arthur Capel Molineux Croome, A.M., who by his personal involvement was highly esteemed on the playing fields and over the course of 20 years devoted himself to the games activities of the boys in such a way that he was willing to take particular responsibility for advancing their studies. (Translation by PWG)
A vellum book beautifully bound with Radley’s crest and symbols by Riviere & Son, presented by Arthur Croome in 1910. The calligraphy and illuminations are unsigned. At least four scribes worked on this book at different times.
The book was designed to commemorate the Croome Memorial – a prize awarded annually to the Social which achieved most marks. As with other Radley traditions, it slipped in and out of use. Although the prize was undoubtedly awarded each year, the only record of it is in The Radleian for 1915, when it was won by Lowe’s (H Social). The calligraphed pages were created from 1911 to 1919. There is then a gap which corresponds exactly to the missing years until 1938, when the winners were Paton’s (A Social). In 1941 old pupils, friends and colleagues of W.R. Smale, Tutor of H Social from 1919-1940, donated the silver Smale Casket in his memory. This is still awarded to the Social with the highest academic achievement. The Croome Memorial was changed to an award for industry. There is no indication of this change within the book, there being full records from 1944 until 1948, then a note was added about a change to the custom:
From 1948 onwards the Croome Casket was awarded yearly to the Social gaining the highest percentage of marks for general industry as determined by system of points to which every boy contributed
There is no record of the Croome Casket being awarded after 1953.
A.C.M. Croome came to Radley as an assistant master in 1889, under Warden H.L. Thompson. He was Tutor of F Social from 1892-1910. He then went to work on the staff of the Daily Telegraph. Croome contributed enormously to college cricket, and in 1892 he provided a cup for Radley Football for matches between junior social teams. He was described by one of his ex-pupils:
A.C.M. Croome was an outstanding figure in his day… A good athlete, it was rumoured that on going to Oxford he had made a bet that he would get five ‘blues’ before coming down – he succeeded in getting four and a half… He was a good disciplinarian and a good teacher – although no scholar.
Croome’s Tower, completed in 1904, was named in his honour.
Robert Riviere, the bookbinder, was based in London:
Connoisseurs came to appreciate the excellent workmanship and good taste displayed in his bindings and he was largely employed by the duke of Devonshire, Mr Christie-Miller, Captain Brooke, and other great collectors. He also bound for the queen and the royal family. In the Great Exhibition of 1851 he exhibited several examples of his skill, and he obtained a medal. He was chosen by the council to bind one thousand copies of the large Illustrated Catalogue, intended for presentation to ‘all the crowned heads in the World’ and other distinguished persons. It is said that Riviere used two thousand skins of the best red French Levant, as well as 1500 yards of red silk for the linings of the covers, in this undertaking. He also restored and bound the famous Domesday Book, now rebound.Riviere bequeathed his business to Percival Calkin, the eldest son of his second daughter, who was taken from school in 1870 to be trained in the firm and who had been taken into partnership by his grandfather in 1881, when the style of the firm was altered to Robert Riviere & Son. Percival’s younger brother, Arthur, joined the firm in 1881 and was taken into partnership in 1889. In 1882 the firm moved to 20 Broad Street, Bloomsbury, and from there in 1884 to Heddon Street, off Regent Street. Although the firm continued to produce highly skilled pastiche bindings, some more original work, apparently much influenced by Alfred de Sauty and Sangorski and Sutcliffe, is illustrated in two catalogues issued by Riviere & Son in 1919 and 1920. Arthur’s son Stuart Riviere Calkin entered the business in 1908 and was with the firm when it closed in 1939. The goodwill and the tools were sold to Messrs Bayntun of Bath.
Other bindings by Riviere & Sons can be viewed at the British Library