Item #2828 The Odyssey of Homer. T. E. LAWRENCE, BRUCE ROGERS, HOMER.
The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer
The Odyssey of Homer

The Odyssey of Homer

"I believe the Bruce Rogers Odyssey is indisputably amongst the most beautiful books ever produced. It is difficult to describe a work of genius. In the Odyssey, without tricks or accessory decoration, with a classic austerity akin to the timeless proportions of the Parthenon, with only type and paper and ink, with consummate skill, Rogers created a masterpiece.” –Joseph Blumenthal

A MASTERPIECE OF BOOK DESIGN: T.E. LAWRENCE’S TRANSLATION OF THE ODYSSEY, DESIGNED BY BRUCE ROGERS. LIMITED EDITION, ONE OF ONLY 530 COPIES. IN MAGNIFICENT CUSTOM BOX BY ZAEHNSDORF WITH BEAUTIFUL 1928 PHOTOGRAPH OF LAWRENCE IN THE RAF.

Contracted by Bruce Rogers in 1928 to create a prose translation of The Odyssey, Lawrence struggled with the text for four years while still working for the RAF. The result, however, was worth the wait, for ultimately the completed book was a huge success and is now recognized as one of the most elegantly printed books of the century.

“The limited edition Odyssey, issued in November 1932, is one of Rogers’s most beautiful books. The pages have a clean, classical appearance and each chapter opens with Greek vase figures printed on a thick gold and black roundel… Joseph Blumenthal, who was responsible for the 1972 Pierpont Morgan Library exhibition ‘Art of the Printed Book: 1455-1955,’ states: ‘During the several years spent in selecting the 112 books finally shown, I handled every title reputed… to be among the finest volumes made… since Gutenberg. I believe that the Bruce Rogers Odyssey is indisputably among the most beautiful books ever produced…’” (Orlans).

This copy is bound in the original black morocco by W.H. Smith and Son and housed in a spectacular full heavily-gilt morocco folding silk-lined case by the legendary bindery Zaehnsdorf. The inside of the case houses a wonderful photograph of Lawrence from 1928 taken by Flight Lieutenant Smetham on the aerodrome at Miranshah Fort in Waziristan, British India during his service in the Royal Air Force. (The photograph has not been examined outside its casing in the box but appears to be vintage.) With elegant leather bookplate with the initials “GNR” above the photo. This GNR bookplate is found in many fine books and is possibly the bookplate for the collection of the Great Northern Railroad.

Homer. The Odyssey. English translation by T. E. Lawrence. Designed and printed by Bruce Rogers. London: Sir Emery Walker, Wilfred Merton and Bruce Rogers, 1932. Limited edition, one of 530 copies. Tall quarto (290x200 mm), original black morocco by W. H. Smith & Son, gilt-lettered spine. Without original slipcase (but now housed in Zaehnsdorf box). Printed in Rogers's Centaur type on light grey Barcham Green paper. Gold leaf roundels on title-page and on 25 headpieces. Just a few superficial scuffs to binding. A spectacular copy.

References:

–Joseph Blumenthal, Bruce Rogers: A Life in Letters, 1989.
–Harold Orlans, T.E. Lawrence: Biography of a Broken Hero, 2002.

Price: $11,500 .

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