(London: 1905). 210 x 140 mm. (8 1/4 x 5 1/2").  leaves.
Dark green crushed morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (stamp-signed in gilt on rear turn-in), sides with multiple rules and with three yellow floral inlays and gilt leaves at each corner, recently and plainly rebacked (and corners repaired), vertical titling on spine. Main body of the text in black and red ink, but ILLUMINATED THROUGHOUT, TITLE PAGE WITH FOLIATE INITIAL "R" ON A BURNISHED GOLD GROUND extending into a half border, the whole decorated with red and purple flowers and with green, orange, red, blue, and purple acanthus leaves on a ground of burnished gold, FACING PAGE WITH OPULENT THREE-QUARTER BORDER FORMED BY A GRAPE VINE with green and gold leaves and succulent purple fruit, THE OPENING WORD "WAKE" IN RAISED GOLD on the top of the border, AND, AT THE BOTTOM, A LARGE OVAL MINIATURE (approximately 55 x 70 mm.) SHOWING AN ONION-DOMED PALACE, each verse of the text with three-line opening initial in red, blue, gold, or green (and sometimes embellished with elaborate penwork in a vaguely Oriental style, half a dozen with more elaborate leafy extensions), AND WITH TWO FINE DETAILED PAINTED VIGNETTES IN THE TEXT (the first an oval showing a maiden pouring wine from a jug into a golden vessel within a luxuriant garden, and the final page of text with a large round miniature showing a beautiful Persian maiden in a moonlit garden). Colophon with a pencil inscription noting "I certify that this copy differs in many respects from any other copy done by me," dated 24 January 1906 and signed by Albert Sangorski; with another inscription below it, written in pencil by a different hand, noting that it was presented to Jessica on 1 March 1922 (with an indecipherable name, presumably the person who presented it, signed below). ◆Binding a little dulled and with occasional nicks, leather a bit darkened in places, but entirely solid and perfectly satisfactory. Just a breath of soiling to the vellum, but A LOVELY MANUSCRIPT IN VERY FINE CONDITION.
This is an exquisite manuscript rendering of FitzGerald's lush and lilting translation of the celebrated 11th century classic collection of evocative short verses, tinged with a sense of the vanity of all things. A work that appealed strongly to Victorian sensibilities, the "Rubáiyát," first printed anonymously in 1859, became immensely popular and went through a great many editions. Our manuscript version was executed by the famous calligrapher and illuminator Alberto Sangorski (1862-1932) just four years after the founding of the firm of Sangorski & Sutcliffe in 1901 by Alberto's brother Francis Sangorski and George Sutcliffe, both of whom had studied under and then worked for Douglas Cockerell. For a dozen years, the firm was successful (and, in fact, it has enjoyed success for a great many years more), but in 1912, Francis drowned, and Alberto, who had been a central figure in producing the firm's vellum illuminated manuscripts (like this one), went over to their rival, Rivière & Sons bindery. The first opening here is particularly striking, being richly gilt with thick burnished gold and handsomely appointed with luscious grape vines heavy with ripened fruit. The quality of the three miniature paintings here is vibrant yet delicate, with much fine detail, and featuring luxuriant settings inspired by the language of the Rubaiyat. On vellum that is in outstanding condition and consisting of 40 pages, this is a substantial piece of excellent work by one of the most sought-after illuminators of the 20th century. (ST17640-290)