first edition Hardcover
1940 · San Francisco
by Clark, Thomas Blake; Reynolds, Joshua (original portrait)
San Francisco: Colt Press, 1940. First and Limited Edition. Hardcover. Near fine. One of five hundred copies, large octavo size, 119 pp., with prospectus. Mai (ca.1751-1780), was mistakenly known as "Omai" in Britain, and that is how many still think of him today. He was a young Polynesian priest who was brought to England in 1774 on the British ship HMS "Adventure". He was introduced to London high society by the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks, who invited Mai to dine with imminent personages of the day such as the First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Sandwich, the notorious and boisterous Mrs. Thrale, the erudite Fanny Burney and the stubborn skeptic Samuel Johnson. After two years he was returned to Otaheite; this is the story of both his visit and retreat, told by the University of Hawaii professor Thomas Blake Clark, with a reproduction of Omai's portrait which was done by the eminent portraitist of the day, Sir Joshua Reynolds. This is the second book of Jane Grabhorn's Colt Press's "South Sea Series" and was so successful it was reprinted the following year, with a more recent reprint being issued by the University of Hawaii; the author, Thomas Clark, was a scholar of eighteenth century literature who served as a professor at the University.
___DESCRIPTION: Original quarter batik cloth with patterned tapa cloth covered boards, printed label strip affixed to backstrip, fore-edge uncut, plain endpapers, monochrome frontis after a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds, most signatures remain unopened; handset type, rag paper, large octavo size (just under 9.75" by 7.75"), pagination: [i-iv] 1-114 , first and limited edition of five hundred copies. With the prospectus, a single sheet of paper folded once, letterpress printed on both sides, measuring 9 3/8" by 7 3/8" when open.
___CONDITION: Near fine, the binding is clean and bright, text block is strong with solid hinges, internally clean with no foxing, and free of prior owner markings; a few odd places of glue residue to the front endpaper and some very minor rubbing/shelfwear to edges, else fine. Prospectus is near fine, clean, with very short tears just beginning at the edges at the fold and two of the corners with creasing.
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(Inventory #: 17100507)