(Oxford: Shakespeare Head Press, 1933). 264 x 191 mm. (10 3/8 x 7 1/2"). Two volumes. No. 171 OF 350 COPIES FOR SALE (of a total edition of 370).
Publisher's terra cotta half morocco over ivory buckram, flat spines with gilt titling, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt, other edges untrimmed. WITH 22 WOODCUTS reproduced from Wynkyn de Worde's folio edition of 1498, all hand colored. Printed in red and black in Caslon type. Ransom, p. 18. AN UNUSUALLY FINE COPY inside and out--entirely fresh, bright, and clean.
This is an attractive hand-colored copy of the Shakespeare Head edition of the most famous of the Arthurian tales, reprinted from, and resembling in its layout and typeface, the 1498 edition of Wynkyn de Worde. Written in the 15th century by Thomas Malory (ca. 1405-71), the sweeping "Mort d'Arthur" (an English version, despite the title, of earlier chivalric tales in French) includes the youth of Arthur, the romance of Guinevere and Launcelot, the quest for the Grail, and the tragedy of Tristan and Iseult. PMM says that the text is nothing less than "the matter of England." And Malory's "style, the humor, the magnificence, that magic that takes away the breath, combine [here] in a masterpiece of legendary narrative." The printers used photographs of the only surviving copy of the 1498 edition, held by the John Rylands Library, to set the text here. The woodcuts, accurately described in the colophon as "crude but vigorous," come from the same source. The result is a work directly tied to the early days of printing in England, but with the broad margins, wonderful paper, and impeccably set type typical of Shakespeare Head volumes. Carefully and intelligently done by the previous owner, the coloring here is naïve, in keeping with the style of the woodcuts. (ST12683-093)
Add to Cart Price: $1,800.00
PJP Catalog: 67.316