"If [Beardsley] had never illustrated another book, this edition of Morte d'Arthur could stand as a monument of decorative book illustration." —The Twentieth Century Book
LIMITED FIRST EDITION, one of only 1500 copies (out of a total edition of 1800). Illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley.
A lavish and strikingly beautiful production, Beardsley's edition of Le Morte D'Arthur is one of the defining works of book illustration, containing, in Beardsley's distinctive style, 2 photogravure frontispieces, 4 double-page and 16 full-page illustrations, 43 ornamental borders, 288 ornamental initials, headpieces and in-text decorations. The publisher's cloth was also based on Beardsley's designs. Le Morte D'Arthur launched the 21-year-old Beardsley's career, introducing the world to the sensuous decadent style for which he became famous.
London: J.M. Dent, 1893-1894. Quarto, original publisher's cloth with elaborate gilt designs; top edges gilt; custom slipcase. Neat bookplate on front pastedown of each volume; gift inscription to half-titles. Light toning to early leaves (as usual); two very small closed tears to top margin of vol 2 frontispiece. Text illustrations very crisp and clean. Binding with a spot of discoloration to spine of vol 2; overall cloth in exceptionally good condition. A beautiful copy of a set that is difficult to find in good condition.
Price: $2,900 .