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Lot 9: (BEARDSLEY, AUBREY.) Malory, Thomas, Sir. Le Morte d''Arthur. The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur of His Noble Knights of the Roun
December 1, 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: (BEARDSLEY, AUBREY.) Malory, Thomas, Sir. Le Morte d''Arthur. The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur of His Noble Knights of the Round Table . . . 2 volumes. Photogravure frontispieces, 18 wood-engraved illustrations (5 double-page), and over 300 decorative initials, chapter headings, and borders throughout. Thick 4to, publisher''s gilt-pictorial cream cloth, extremities rubbed with surface loss, dampstaining to spines with visible bleeding into rear covers; top edges stained gold, endpapers a bit foxed, usual scattered light offsetting from illustrations. London: Dent, 1893-94
Notes: beardsley''s first major illustrated work. Originally issued in 12 parts in wrappers, the buyer was given the choice of sending it back to Dent (who bound them in vellum or this cloth gilt option) or to a binder of their own choice. John M. Dent commissioned the 20-year-old Beardsley to produce this edition of Le Morte D''Arthur to emulate the publications of William Morris''s Kelmscott Press. The 351 designs appearing in the first edition required a year and a half to complete. "In Le Morte d''Arthur Beardsley learnt his job, but the result is no bungling student''s work. If he had never illustrated another book, this edition of Morte d''Arthur could stand as a monument of decorative book illustration"--John Lewis, The Twentieth Century Book, pages 148-49.