1886 · London
Attractive contemporary dark brown crushed morocco, cover framed in gilt and blind, oblique fleurons at corners, raised bands, spine compartments gilt with floral medallion at center, gilt titling, turn-ins with four gilt fillets, leather hinges, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. WITH A FINE FORE-EDGE PAINTING REPRODUCING DA VINCI'S "LAST SUPPER." In (somewhat scuffed) black pebble-grain morocco slipcase with (nearly detached) lid flap. Text in decorative borders, many containing scenes from scripture, in the style of 16th century printed Books of Hours, historiated initials, half-page engraving at beginning of each of the four books, and 15 fine etchings, printed on India paper and mounted on heavy stock, by L. Flameng and Ch. Waltner, from designs by J. P. Laurens and Henri Levi, all with original tissue guards. One opening with faint offsetting from an old bookmark, but A VERY FINE COPY, with no signs of use inside or out, the vividly colored fore-edge painting extremely well preserved.
This is an especially attractive edition, in immaculate condition, of the ever-popular Christian devotional, our copy in an excellent binding and with an expertly rendered and most appropriate fore-edge painting. Although both binding and painting are unsigned, they were likely done by London artisans in the early 20th century, when the hidden fore-edge decoration popularized by Edwards of Halifax in the late 18th century was enjoying a revival. Our artist was most accomplished, delicately capturing the facial expressions of Christ and the Apostles--the shock and fear of the latter, the serene resignation of the central figure--as well as such minute details as the embroidery on the tablecloth. The painting also stands out for its rich colors, the deep jewel tones of the figures' robes a contrast to the more common pastel-toned fore-edge scenes. This edition of the Kempis classic is handsomely produced, the animated text frames recalling the decoration of early printed Books of Hours, and the etched plates depicting scenes from the life of Christ or acts of personal piety that are quite moving.. (Inventory #: ST16454)