(London: G. G. Harrap & Co., 1911). 287 x 193 mm. (11 1/4 x 7 1/2").  pp.Translated in Poetic Narrative Form by T. W. Rolleston. No. 187 OF 525 COPIES SIGNED BY THE ARTIST.
Publisher's full gray leather, upper cover with blind-stamped lyre/staff/rose ornament and title, smooth spine with title in blind, background leather stippled, pictorial endpapers, top edge gilt, other edges untrimmed. IN THE ORIGINAL (slightly soiled) PICTORIAL BOX. LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED BY WILLY POGÁNY, with illustrated title and half title printed in colors, frames and decorations on every page of text, numerous vignettes in the text, 44 full-page illustrations( these predominantly printed in black and orange, but some also with gray-green and blue ink, all on toned paper), small mounted color insert to frontispiece, and 16 MOUNTED COLOR PLATES. Inside cover of box with bookplate of "P. W." A hint of rubbing to extremities and head and tail of spine, free endpapers with minor offsetting from turn-ins, but AN ESPECIALLY FINE COPY, pristine internally, its binding beautifully preserved by the (usually missing) felt-lined original box.
Based on Wagner's operatic reimagining of the Medieval poet-knight Tannhäuser, this beautifully produced translation was designed by Hungarian artist Willy Pogány (1882-1955), a successful illustrator and set designer known particularly for his depictions of exotic locales and ancient times. In addition to illustrating such works as "The Arabian Nights" and "The Golden Fleece," Pogány designed sets for the Metropolitan Opera and Broadway productions as well as Hollywood films. His creations were well suited for the stylings of Wilhelm Richard Wagner (1813-83), a juggernaut of the opera world (as both a composer and a librettist) whose ambitious oeuvre was often inspired by myth and legend--including his most famous production, the "Ring Cycle," as well as the present work, first produced in 1845 and frequently revised. When "Tannhäuser" opens, our eponymous hero is a devotee of the goddess of love, having left the world to live in pleasure by her side. In time, however, he grows weary of the delights of the flesh and travels to Rome where he hopes to repent his sins before the pope and win back the favor of his true love, Elisabeth. Tannhäuser is denied absolution, and is told that the pope's wooden staff would sooner blossom than forgiveness be bestowed upon him. The miracle eventually does come to pass, but not before Tannhäuser returns home to find that Elisabeth has perished in his absence. As he watches her funeral procession, the despairing knight finds redemption in his love for Elisabeth before succumbing to his own death. Pogány's ethereal illustrations here capture the romance and magic of Wagner's narrative, transposing the scenes and characters of lore into dreamy full-color plates, while layered Art Nouveau illustrations add sustained visual interest with attractive patterns and unexpected combinations of shapes and motifs. This lovely work is offered here in especially fine condition, thanks to the presence of its original box. (ST15816-42)