Saint Dunstan Edition / Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam / Edward FitzGerald Version ... specially illuminated throughout ... and that no two copies are alike
by [Rubaiyat] FitzGerald, Edward; Omar Khayyam; Ross Turner
Cambridge, Mass: The University Press, 1901. Limited, hand illuminated edition. Hardcover. Fine condition. Extraordinarily rare edition of the Rubaiyat, number 20 of 22 copies created and extensively illuminated by hand by Ross Turner. The St. Dunstan illuminated editions "were conceived of at the turn of the century by publisher George D. Sproul and coincided with a wave of renewed interest in book art, coming on the heels of the Arts and Crafts movement."* Ross Turner was the first illuminator hired by Sproul to decorate the books. His style drew inspiration from flowers and the aesthetic style, with "foliation flourishing far outside the bounds of the capital..." Turner was known not to have signed his work, which is consistent with this copy. When it became clear that it took much longer than anticipated to illuminate a book, Sproul hired two other illuminators, one being Attilio Formilli. The limitations page states, "It is guaranteed to subscribers that eighteen copies only of this edition have been made for sale in America, and twelve copies only for sale in Europe, and that no future edition will be issued; that it is printed from type and the type has been distributed; that this copy, which is number ("twenty" in manuscript) has been specially illuminated throughout for (blank) and that no two copies are alike. Illuminated by (blank), Arranged and printed at (blank) and Published by (blank)." According to Potter 249: "This ed. was done as part of a set of 12 vols. of various authors' works, issued to subscribers at 12,000 dollars per set, of which 22 sets only were disposed of. The illuminations are from designs by Ross Turner, and others." Potter 249 (p81). The limitations page is followed by an illuminated title page, "Rubaiyat / of Omar / Khayyam / illuminated by / (blank) George D. Sproul / MCMI. The text follows with one quatrain printed on the first page, with a floral headpiece. Subsequent text pages have two quatrains per page. Printed on parchment, one side of leaf only, with hand illuminated initial to each quatrain. The text is from the 4th edition. 11 x 8 1/2", 106pp, in the original publishers tan cloth with gilt title on front board. It is unusual that the book exists in its original boards. It was expected that the clients would want it custom bound for their personal library, as would be done by those collectors with the means to buy the set in the first place. In its original cloth, this would be an unusual survival. Indeed, OCLC: 936229400 cites only the Houghton Library copy at Harvard with the label of Paul Edward Chevalier, elaborately bound in green morocco. *The Folger Library describes their copy of Shakespeare from the St. Dunstan edition in an online article titled "A superfluous luxury": the St. Dunstan illuminated editions (Sarah Hovde, May 19, 2015).
(Inventory #: 22314)
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