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GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
London: Cresset Press, 1930. No. VIII OF 10 COPIES ON ROMAN VELLUM WITH AN EXTRA SET OF THE PLATES ON VELLUM, EACH OF THEM SIGNED BY THE ARTIST n. This is the very rare vellum edition of one of the most beautifully printed and attractively illustrated private press books of the 1930s. Inspired by such masters as Watteau, Canoletto, and Boucher, Whistler's work, including the witty drawings here surrounded by rococo frames, recall the 18th century heyday of French book illustration. Horne quotes a 1984 exhibit at the British Museum that says, "This playful essay in 18th century pastiche is, like much fine English book-making of the 1920s and 1930s, aesthetically backward-looking. Whistler's drawings are matched by a text printed in a revival of John Baskerville's 18th century types." Reginald John "Rex" Whistler (1905-44) made a name for himself in mural painting, stage design, and book illustration, and in "Gulliver," his skills as a theater designer and as a muralist align to produce what is widely regarded as his masterpiece, as well as a highspot of 20th century fine printing. Horne describes him as "one of the most gifted figures of the years between the wars," and laments that his artistic career was brought to a tragically premature end by World War II, during which Whistler died while serving as a tank troop leader in France. The Cresset Press operated between 1927 and 1931 under the direction of Dennis M. Cohen and A. I. Myers, and while its output was small, the books it produced were notable. Presswork was done at the Shakespeare Head Press run by Bernard Newdigate, perhaps the most important name in private press printing between the wars. Besides the present one, only one other copy of the Cresset Press "Gulliver" on vellum seems to have appeared at auction since 1975, and it had only six of the extra plates colored.. 343 x 235 mm. (13 1/2 x 9 1/4"). Two bound volumes plus a portfolio of plates. No. VIII OF 10 COPIES ON ROMAN VELLUM WITH AN EXTRA SET OF THE PLATES ON VELLUM, EACH OF THEM SIGNED BY THE ARTIST. Publisher's special russet morocco by Wood of London, raised bands flanked by simple blind tooling extending onto the boards, gilt titling, brass clasps and catches, gilt-ruled turn-ins, all edges gilt, vellum endleaves. The extra plates housed in silk-covered chemise bound into boards covered with matching morocco. The whole contained in two extremely fine recent morocco-backed felt-lined folding boxes with raised bands and gilt titling, giving the appearance of three book spines. The main volumes with a total of 27 engravings (26 images), as called for: a title page vignette featuring a bust of Swift (appearing in each volume), eight head- and tailpieces, five full-page maps, and 12 DELICATELY HAND-COLORED COPPER-ENGRAVED PLATES (including two frontispieces) BY REX WHISTLER, each within an ornate baroque-style frame, AND WITH AN ADDITIONAL SUITE OF ALL 26 engraved images (the same 12 images that are colored in the main volumes also colored by hand in the extra suite), each of the 26 extra images signed by Whistler and separately matted. Original tissue guards. Ransom, p. 7. Spines of the text and plate volumes rather darkened (though evenly so), the morocco boards covering the plate chemise a bit soiled and somewhat scratched (the scratches well refurbished), but the original deluxe bindings showing almost no other wear and retaining much of their original appeal. Text and plates with only the most trivial of foxing or tonal variations to the vellum, and generally IN VERY FINE CONDITION INTERNALLY. This is the very rare vellum edition of one of the most beautifully printed and attractively illustrated private press books of the 1930s. Inspired by such masters as Watteau, Canoletto, and Boucher, Whistler's work, including the witty drawings here surrounded by rococo frames, recall the 18th century heyday of French book illustration. Horne quotes a 1984 exhibit at the British Museum that says, "This playful essay in 18th century pastiche is, like much fine English book-making of the 1920s and 1930s, aesthetically backward-looking. Whistler's drawings are matched by a text printed in a revival of John Baskerville's 18th century types." Reginald John "Rex" Whistler (1905-44) made a name for himself in mural painting, stage design, and book illustration, and in "Gulliver," his skills as a theater designer and as a muralist align to produce what is widely regarded as his masterpiece, as well as a highspot of 20th century fine printing. Horne describes him as "one of the most gifted figures of the years between the wars," and laments that his artistic career was brought to a tragically premature end by World War II, during which Whistler died while serving as a tank troop leader in France. The Cresset Press operated between 1927 and 1931 under the direction of Dennis M. Cohen and A. I. Myers, and while its output was small, the books it produced were notable. Presswork was done at the Shakespeare Head Press run by Bernard Newdigate, perhaps the most important name in private press printing between the wars. Besides the present one, only one other copy of the Cresset Press "Gulliver" on vellum seems to have appeared at auction since 1975, and it had only six of the extra plates colored.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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