[ROBINSON, W. Heath, illustrator]. SHAKESPEARE, [William]. Shakespeare's Comedy of A Midsummer-Night's Dream. With Illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. London: Published by Constable & Co., 1914.
First trade edition, third issue (bound in 1919). Large quarto (11 1/4 x 8 1/2 inches; 286 x 217 mm.). xii, , 185, , [1, printer's imprint] pp. Twelve color plates tipped onto cream mounts with beige rule borders and caption in beige at foot. Forty-seven full-page (including title) and nineteen smaller black and white drawings in the text (the "List of Illustrations" lists thirty-two full-page black and white drawings).
Original quarter tan linen over green linen-grain paper boards. Spine lettered in black. Top stained dark green. Corners very lightly bumped. Minimal foxing. Otherwise a near fine copy. In the original brown pictorial dust jacket printed in black with the original binding design (a classical statue playing a flute and two fauns frolicking against a solid background of trees). Jacket reinforced at the edges and spine folds on the verso.
"As with Twelfth Night, Heath Robinson set out to recreate the atmosphere of the play rather than to provide a pictorial record of the action, this time with a subject that gave him greater scope for his imagination. It is the black and white illustrations that dominate the book and they fall into two main groups, the woodland scenes and the drawings of the rustics. In the woodland scenes Heath Robinson has developed a decorative style of drawing foliage which was first used by Beardsley in a number of his drawings for The SavoyÖHeath Robinson started to refine the technique in the drawings to Poe's poemsÖIn A Midsummer Night's Dream the style is refined further and combined with solid black skies and strong foreground patterns of wild flowers or horse chestnut leaves to produce a series of drawings that have great depth and variety of texture. These provide the ideal setting for that Ďmost wonderful moonlight night in fantasy'. In sharp contrast are the series of pictures of the rustic characters Quince, Snug, Bottom, Flute, Snout and Starveling. They are drawn with great economy of line, with little or no supporting detail in the backgroundÖThe coloured illustrations are very much an integral part of the book, providing variety of texture and tone, and if anything fulfil a supporting function in the overall scheme. With their subdued colouring and incidental subjects they add to the atmosphere of the book without becoming the focus of attention" (Beare, pp. 43-44).
Beare 77d (calling for forty-six full-page and seventeen smaller line drawings). Lewis, p. 216.
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