Le Morte Darthur

The Birth, Life and Acts of King Arthur, of the Noble Knights of the Round Table, Their Marvellous Enquests and Adventures the Achieving of the San Greal and in the End Le Morte Darthur with the Dolourous Death and Departing Out of This World of Them All.

MALORY, Sir Thomas / BEARDSLEY, Aubrey

LARGE PAPER ISSUE IN ORIGINAL PARTS

BEARDSLEY, Aubrey Le Morte Darthur The Birth, Life and Acts of King Arthur, of the Noble Knights of the Round Table, Their Marvellous Enquests and Adventures the Achieving of the San Greal and in the End Le Morte Darthur with the Dolourous Death and Departing Out of This World of Them All.

Dent, London, 1893.

First edition, deluxe issue. Number 101 of 300 sets printed on large Dutch handmade paper. Twelve original parts, each in original light grey card wrappers with design by Beardsley in brown to the upper covers. Two photogravure frontispieces and eighteen full page wood engravings (including five double-page), numerous text illustrations, and approximately 350 designs for chapter headings and borders, all by Aubrey Beardsley. A fine set, with the wrappers of each volume exceptionally clean and crisp and free from all but the most trivial wear. Internally some plates show oxidisation and corresponding offsetting as usual, but the text exceptionally clean and for the most part, unopened. Housed in early custom boxes. An extraordinary set.

The classic combination of Aubrey Beardsley's distinctive drawings and the Arthurian legend. One of the most iconic books of the fin de si├Ęcle.
The young Beardsley was a regular at London's antiquarian book shops, where he forged a friendship with shop owner, Frederick Evans who introduced him to the publisher J.M.Dent. Dent was planning a beautifully illustrated version of Malory's Morte D'Arthur, along the lines of some of Morris's Kelmscott Press books, but using a less expensive printing process. Loath to pay the elevated fee William Morris would charge for this commission, and impressed by Beardsley's sample piece, "The Achieving of the Sangreal" (used as the frontispiece in this work), Dent was persuaded to employ Aubrey Beardsley with "everything to do for the book".
The work was issued by subscription in twelve parts between June 1893 and November 1894 in an edition of 1500 copies on standard paper and 300 copies on Van Gelder paper. On completion of the serialisation, subscribers to the large paper issue were encouraged to have the work "be bound in Vellum, as being handsomely in keeping with the style of the edition and very strong." (publisher's notice tipped in to the final volume of this set).
The small limitation of the deluxe issue makes it understandably scarce in any form. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence of copies seen in the publisher's binding and those in original wrappers, would suggest that most copies were either bound up or have since perished.

Stock ID: 39709

£15,000.00

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