Description

    [Aubrey Beardsley, illustrator]. Sir Thomas Malory. Le Morte D'Arthur. [London]: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1927. Third (most complete) edition. Repair to head of spine. Binding worn. Bookplate. Good.

    More Information:

    Third edition, but first "complete" edition with all of Beardsley's original art included, and one of 1,600 copies. Tall quarto (11.5 x 8.75 inches; 92 x 223 mm.). iv, [1, blank], 538 pages. Complete with twenty-two plates (some photo-engraved on clay paper, most printed on pulp), forty-three borders, and myriad headpieces, tailpieces, vignettes, initials, and ornaments.

     

    Publisher's black cloth, beveled boards, front board with art nouveau lily motif stamped in gilt, smooth spine stamped in gilt, top edge gilt, others uncut. Bookplate affixed to front pastedown. Lacks jacket. Light toning to top margins. Some offsetting from engraved plates onto tissue guards. Light shelf wear to board extremities, and several small bits of loss to corners. Headcap perished, with a small piece reattached at head of spine. Overall a good copy.

     

    A pleasing copy of the most complete version of the J.M. Dent Morte D'Arthur, with several Beardsley ornaments and illustrations that were omitted from prior editions; Dent would not issue the fourth edition of the work  for another forty-five years. A classic of art nouveau illustration, Le Morte D'Arthur was Beardsley's first major production and one of his most remarkable. Indeed, as John Lewis has it, "In Le Morte D'Arthur Beardsley learnt his job, but the result is no bungling student's work . . . If he had never illustrated another book, this edition of Morte D'Arthur could stand as a monument of decorative book illustration" (The Twentieth Century Book, pages 148-149).

     

    Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 314.



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    Auction Dates
    March, 2009
    6th-7th Friday-Saturday
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