Combining Luxury with Classical Erudition: Handsomely Bound, and One of 26 Special Copies, with Hand-Colored Illustrations throughout


(Boston: Privately Printed by Nathan Haskell Dole, [1903-05]). 230 x 165 mm. (9 x 6 1/2"). 10 volumes. No. 2 OF 26 COPIES OF THE HELLENIC EDITION, printed on Royal Japanese vellum.

SUPERB CONTEMPORARY INDIGO CRUSHED MOROCCO, GILT AND INLAID, covers with gilt rule border, central panel framed by 20 inlaid lighter blue morocco tulips interspersed with tiny gilt stars, raised bands, spine with three panels inlaid with sprays of dark red and citron morocco tulips and lilies accented with small tools, two panels with gilt titling, SKY BLUE MOROCCO DOUBLURES featuring an indigo morocco frame inlaid with red morocco lilies at corners, central panel inlaid with eight teal morocco tulips and a large red morocco lily on graceful gilt stems, a sprinkling of gilt stars above them, ivory watered silk free endleaves, all edges gilt. LAVISHLY ILLUSTRATED by artists including A. G. Learned and E. F. Bems with decorative frame on limitations and title pages, NINE FRONTISPIECES, 97 HEADPIECE VIGNETTES, 95 DECORATIVE TAILPIECES, AND 269 THREE-QUARTER FRAMES, ALL HAND COLORED, and 675 black & white three-quarter frames. With engraved bookplate of George Clinton Ward on front flyleaf (most now loose). ◆Spines with just a hint of dulling, a whisper of shelfwear to a couple of volumes, isolated small marginal smudges (from the printing process), but A VERY FINE SET WITH VIRTUALLY NO SIGNS OF USE.

This superb set features English translations of important Classical texts handsomely printed on Japanese vellum, extravagantly illustrated, and sumptuously bound. It contains "The Wisdom of Marcus Aurelius," "The Eclogues of Vergil," "Sayings of Epictetus," "Selections from Gesta Romanorum," "Odes of Anacreon, Anacreontics, and Other Selections from the Greek Anthology," "The Satires of Horace," "The Story of Odysseus in the Land of the Phacians, Being the Sixth and a Part of the Seventh Book of the Odyssey," "Selections from Aristophanes and Lucian," "The Olympic and Pythian Odes of Pindar," and selections from the Koran translated by George Sale. The project was undertaken by writer, translator, and editor Nathan Haskell Dole, a popular member of the Boston literary set. Educated at Philips Andover and Harvard, he was much influenced by family friends like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. He showed an early facility for languages, teaching himself to read French, German, Greek, and Latin. Our set was designed by Dole to be the crown jewel of a library, combining beauty and luxury with Classical erudition. The bindings here are unsigned, but are very similar to those on a copy of this work in the Phoebe Boyle sale bound by the Adams Bindery. Ralph Randolph Adams was, along with Henry Stikeman (and a handful or others), one of the great American art bookbinders of his era. His workshop produced bindings of notable beauty and craftsmanship. The New York Times (11 October 1902) described an Adams binding as "so exquisite in design and execution that those long skeptical of the ability of Americans to bind artistically should now be convinced of their error. . . . It is to be hoped that all American binders will be encouraged to strive toward producing designs [like Adams'] that are in a measure original and which show more of the individual touch of the artist."

Price: $9,500.00