CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA.

(New York and London: Printed at The Knickerbocker Press for G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1893, 1894). 229 x 165 mm. (9 x 6 1/2"). Four volumes, representing two separately published works, each in two volumes.

Publisher's ivory buckram, ornately embellished with a Moorish-inspired design by Alice Cordelia Morse, covers with elaborate decoration in colors and gilt, flat spines with gilt titling and decoration, patterned endpapers, top edges gilt. IN ORIGINAL BLUE CLOTH DUST JACKETS with gilt titling on spine. With 61 photogravures of the Alhambra and Granada, each with lettered tissue guard. Front pastedowns with engraved bookplate of Ella C. Smith ("Alhambra") and of Harold Randolph ("Granada"). Publishers' Bindings Online, 1815-1930: The Art of the Book, identifier pba02724 (for the binding). Mild browning to leaves opposite illustrations (from acidic tissue guards), otherwise AN EXTRAORDINARILY FINE SET, clean and fresh in very pretty publisher's bindings beautifully protected by their original fine dust jackets.

In bindings designed by one of the top book cover artists of the day, these are attractive illustrated editions of two works inspired by Irving's three-year residence in Spain. Although he was born to struggling immigrant parents in New York City, Irving (1783-1859) became a sophisticated citizen of the world, first as a traveller in England, France, and Germany, and later as a political appointee, serving in the American legations in London and Madrid. His writings, accomplished in an amiable and fluent style, earned international recognition; partly because they were often set in foreign locales (as is the case with the present items), they formed one of the first literary bridges established between the Old and New Worlds. "Granada" is one of Irving's earliest works of non-fiction, a highly romanticized retelling the 1492 capture of that Moorish stronghold by the forces of Ferdinand and Isabella. The author reverts to the style of his popular "Geoffrey Crayon" miscellanies for "The Alhambra," a collection of 41 sketches about the famous Moorish palace in Granada. Alice Cordelia Morse (1863-1961) began her career designing stained glass windows in the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany, before turning to binding design in 1887. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History," Morse enjoyed experimenting with a variety of styles and used "a mixture of Arts and Crafts, Arabic, Moorish, and Persian ornament" when designing the present bindings, in keeping with her practice of "adapting her designs both to complement each book's theme and appeal to the widest audience." Morse was much respected by publishers for her tasteful work, and her bindings for luxury publications appeared in book arts exhibitions at the Grolier Club and elsewhere. Dust jackets from the 1890s are, of course, very uncommon, and especially rare in the fine condition seen here.
(ST12020a)

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PJP Catalog: ELIST4.017

CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA. WASHINGTON IRVING.
CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA.
CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA.
CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA.
CHRONICLE OF THE CONQUEST OF GRANADA. [and] THE ALHAMBRA.