New York: Limited Editions Club, 1939-1940. Hardcover. Slight browning to the gutters of some volumes, contents bright and fresh. Spines foxed to varying degrees, some very much so. Overall an attractive set in at least Very Good condition. Arthur Rackham; Eric Gill; Robert Gibbings; Frans Masereel; Jean Charlot. Thirty-seven folio (8-3/4" x 13") volumes bound in gold-stamped half natural buckram, top edges gilt, with the paper sides, printed in four colors with the 2 matching poetry volumes. Edited by Herbert Farjeon, who created the Nonesuch edition text of Shakespeare, to restore the original typographic style and spelling; typography planned and production supervised by Bruce Rogers. Each of the 37 volumes is illustrated by one of the world's leading book artists including Arthur Rackham, Eric Gill, Robert Gibbings, Jean Charlot, and Frans Masereel. Media include wood engravings and lithographs with some hand coloring. An attempt to "produce a text such as Shakespeare himself might have passed for the printer had he personally read the proofs," and surely one of the most beautiful editions, if not the most beautiful edition, of Shakespeare ever produced. Each volume is copy #705 of 1950 copies issued unsigned. Included are the Commentaries for each play, never folded in this case. The covers reproduce a patterned wall painting uncovered under many layers of wallpaper in a room in an old house in Oxford that belonged to John Davenant where Shakespeare spent nights on his annual journey to Warwickshire. When one looks at the outside of one of these books, one probably sees the very design Shakespeare saw waking after a long night of talking and drinking with Davenant who was a vintner. (Inventory #: 018228)
Signed Books & Autographs, Modern & 19th Century First Editions, Limited Editions Club, Presidential Books & Autographs, Hand-Colored Plate Books, Early Printing
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