With "Haunting Designs" by Charles RickettsOscar Wilde. The Sphinx. With Decorations by Charles Ricketts. London: Elkin Mathews and John Lane, at the Sign of the Bodley Head, 1894.
First edition, limited to 200 copies for distribution in England. Quarto. Printed in red, black and green. With illustrations and decorations by Charles Ricketts.
Original vellum gilt beautifully decorated by Charles Ricketts, stamp-signed by him at the bottom left of the front cover. The monogram of the binders, Leighton, Son and Hodge, appears on the back cover. Light wear and spotting to boards. A few short abrasions to the vellum along the bottom of the front cover. Moderate toning and spotting to endpapers and some inner leaves. Previous ownership signature to front free endpaper. All in all, a very bright copy of one of Ricketts' finest works.
"The Sphinx is his [Ricketts´] best book ... The result is a perfect whole, as harmonious as it is dazzling. The haunting designs gold-stamped on the vellum covers propose the subject. The poet's mood is established by the figure of Melancholia gazing at the Sphinx in the pictorial title. The adventures of this hybrid creature through the 'weary centuries' are obliquely presented in the designs that follow. And the poet's final turning back from the 'foul dreams of sensual life' that she has imposed upon him to the creed of the crucifixion is delayed in the conclusion ... this remains his [Ricketts'] most original and consistent work" (Ray. Illustrator and the Book in England 1770 to 1914, p. 163).
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