THE FLOWER BOOK.

(London: Fine Art Society, 1905). 330 x 250 mm. (13 x 9 7/8"). 5 p.l. [40] leaves (including two leaves of facsimiles). FIRST EDITION. No. 81 OF 300 COPIES.

Recent red half calf over red buckram boards by Bayntun (stamp-signed on front free endpaper), raised bands, gilt titling on spine. 38 VERY FINE COLOR PLATES OF SUBJECTS SUGGESTED BY THE NAMES OF FLOWERS, each accompanied by a page of descriptive text. Printed in red and green. Front pastedown with book label of Mary Priscilla Smith. Some scarcely perceptible scratches to leather, but the binding perfectly pleasing in every other way. Title page backed, a shade more yellow than the rest of the book, and with the lower outer corner replaced (well away from any titling), blank verso of final leaf somewhat browned, otherwise extremely clean and fresh internally.

This work features a series of beautifully colored illustrations inspired by the names of flowers. The pictures are the work of the celebrated painter Edward Burne-Jones (1833-98), best known in the book world as a designer and illustrator for the Kelmscott Press and especially as the artist responsible for the magnificent Kelmscott Chaucer. A prolific worker, he generally had a number of projects going at once, some of them taking years to complete and some of them--like the lovely book offered here--left unfinished at his death. The "Flower Book" contains the completed part of an open-ended project that provides considerable insight into the artist's creative process. As explained by his wife in the preface, Burne-Jones began the project in 1882 "for his own pleasure . . . , as rest from more laborious work." Over time he amassed a list of the names of flowers that inspired his imagination, using them as starting points for the production of little painted visions, each existing within a circle about six inches in diameter. Our volume contains the printed version of that list (as issued) and those wonderfully realized and fanciful figures suggested by the flowers' names. The idea of reproducing this work had occurred to his surviving friends and family previously, but it was not undertaken until advances in color printing made satisfactory results possible. Our volume is attractively (albeit simply) bound; because it does not appear here in the original publisher's green morocco (or in some other luxury binding), the price has been adjusted accordingly.
(ST17038)

Price: $8,500.00