The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

KHAYYAM, Omar / POGANY, Willy

ONE OF 25 COPIES ON JAPANESE VELLUM

KHAYYAM, Omar The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Harrap, 1909.

First Pogany edition. 4to. Edition de luxe, number 20 of twenty-five special copies printed on Japanese vellum and signed by the artist. Bound in the original publisher's full white vellum. Double ruled in gilt to covers, decorative floral borders and calligraphy embossed in gilt to the upper cover and spine. Double ruled gilt inner dentelles, with stars stamped to the corners. Top edge gilt and others untrimmed. From cover to cover Pogany has considered every detail of the book, from paper quality to presentation. The book has beautiful endpapers (in this edition bound after three blanks), calligraphic text in decorative borders and twenty-four colour plates. A fine copy, with creamy fresh vellum, just the slightest bowing and one or two tissue guards slightly edge worn.

A glorious presentation of the epic Persian poem, seen here for the first time with the decoration of Willy Pogany. The small limitation inevitably makes this a rarity, but to find it in fine original condition is very special indeed.
This work was the foundation of the "Books Beautiful" for which publisher George Harrap became so well known. On meeting the young Hungarian artist, Willy Pogany, Harrap knew he had unearthed a rare talent. This was to be the first of the glorious and extravagant gift books designed by Pogany, "embellished with a wealth of artistic details which differentiates [it] from all other English gift books of the period." (Some Memories, George Harrap)
A contemporary review in the 1909 Christmas Bookman celebrates the success of Pogany's artwork in expressing Omar's stanzas with drawings that "intelligibly hint at the inner meaning of the verse and yet retain that deep fine but always elusive suggestiveness." Pogany's drawing of the famous first quatrain it describes as "an exquisite piece of work; the dim sun looming at the back, the figures of the miscellaneous crowd flitting past, before it all, are conceived and pictures in the right mystical, fantastic spirit.
"For in and out, above, about below,
"Tis nothing but a magic Shadow show,
Played in a box whose candle is the Sun,
Round which we Phantom Figures come and go"
"You turn the pages and here are the wonderful Eastern dawns, the gorgeous sunsets, bright-dark nights of the Orient burning and gleaming under your eyes, and the ornate mosques, noble palaces, quaint streets, vast deserts, and lovely garden places - the land of Omar's dreams is made visible to you."

Stock ID: 40943

£9,500.00

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