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    A Fascinating Watercolor Inscription
    to Vivien Leigh

    Max Beerbohm. The Happy Hypocrite. Illustrated by George Sheringham. London: John Lane The Bodley Head, [1918]. First illustrated edition, with twenty-four full-page color plates with tissue guards. Contains a marvelous watercolor inscription to Vivien Leigh on a tipped-in leaf, reading: "For the First Lady of the Theatre / Vivien Leigh / In Memory of Her Second Triumph / Robert Olson...Fellow, / The Maximilian Society, / New York City, the Year of / the Cleopatras." Robert Olson was a well-known New York-based ballet and stage designer. In 1942 the Maximilian Society was created in Max Beerbohm's honor. "Formed by a London drama critic, it boasted 70 distinguished members, and planned to add one more fan of Beerbohm's on each successive birthday."
    Leigh had appeared in a stage production of The Happy Hypocrite in 1936, which is likely the "second triumph" to which Olson refers. "In the year of the Cleopatras" most likely refers to the fact that in 1951 Leigh portrayed Cleopatra in two different plays, one adapted by George Bernard Shaw and one adapted by William Shakespeare. This would appear to date the watercolor inscription to 1951. The image depicted in the inscription is from George Sheridan's color plate facing page 34 in the book.
    Quarto. 70 pages. Original blue cloth binding with a pink, gold and white flower motif. Original dust jacket. Spine darkened. One corner gently bumped. Pencil notations to half-title. Tissue guards toned. A bit of scabbing to RFEP. Jacket spine perished, with additional toning and wear to edges. Overall, a very good copy of a book whose many layers of theatrical association make it very desirable. From the Pre-Raphaelite Collection of William E. Fredeman.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    17th Wednesday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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