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London and New York: Macmillan and Co, 1895. Hardcover. With a Painting Signed by Winifred Arthur. 222 x 154 mm (8 3/4 x 6 1/16"). xviii, [ii], 507, [1] pp. HANDSOME CONTEMPORARY RED CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT, BY HOWELL OF LIVERPOOL (stamp-signed on verso of front free endpaper), covers with gilt fillet border and triple fillet-framed central panel with ornate fleur-de-lys cornerpieces, raised bands, spine attractively gilt in compartments with fleur-de-lys centerpiece within a lozenge of small tools and with scrolling cornerpieces, densely gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt. WITH A PLEASING FORE-EDGE PAINTING OF THE ETERNAL CITY SIGNED BY WINIFRED ARTHUR. With 25 full-page illustrations and numerous illustrations in the text. Slight rubbing to joints, lower inner corner with faint arching dampstain extending into part of the bottom four lines of text, a very few tiny dots of foxing, otherwise fine, the attractive decorative binding bright, the text fresh and clean, and the painting very well preserved. This is one of a series of guidebooks to Italian cities done by the prolific Scottish-born authoress Oliphant (her middle name, "Oliphant," was her mother's maiden name as well as her own married name). Mrs. Oliphant (1828-97) published more than 100 books and "had a good style, a command of humor and pathos, and the ability to create characters so real that her analyses of them give the effect of unnecessary repetition; [she had] a fine imagination, and a gift of circumstantial invention." (Kunitz & Haycraft) She was compelled to write so much mainly because her husband died while she still had a family to support, and because she was never able to achieve a noteworthy financial success with any of her works. Our volume is of some interest apart from the fore-edge painting, containing chapters entitled "Honourable Women not a Few," "The Popes who Made the Papacy," "Lo Popolo: and the Tribune of the People," and "The Popes who Made the City." The fore-edge painting here contrasts the ancient with the modern, and the religious with the secular: the ruins of the Forum dominate the foreground, surrounded by crowded streets of houses, over which the dome of St. Peters and the campanile of Santa Maria Maggiore tower. The colors are pleasing and the style somewhat impressionistic. We do not know the artist, though the painting surely was done during the last 50 years.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Fine Books and Mediev]
Last Found On: 2013-08-15           Check availability:      Biblio    


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