Bells and Other Poems, The; With Illustrations by Edmund Dulac

Clang, Clang, Clang Drew Ed Dulac
Ding, Ding, Ding Went His "Bells"
Zing, Zing, Zing Went This Binding
On a Beautiful Book, Trés Belle

[BAYNTUN-RIVIÉRE (Binder)]. [Chris LEWIS (Finisher)]. [DULAC, Edmund, illustrator]. POE, Edgar Allan. The Bells and Other Poems. With Illustrations by Edmund Dulac. London: Hodder and Stoughton, [n.d., 1912].

Edition de Luxe. Limited to 750 copies (this copy being No. 525), numbered and signed by the artist. Large quarto (12 1/8 x 9 7/8 inches; 309 x 250 mm.). Unpaginated. Twenty-eight mounted color plates, with descriptive tissue guards. Ten black ink head-pieces on tan backgrounds and portrait of Poe on the title-page, also in black ink on tan background.

Bound ca. 1960 by Bayntun-Riviére (stamp-signed) in full midnight blue levant morocco and finished by Chris Lewis with a strapwork frame enclosing a sunken panel with a dramatic, vividly multi-colored onlaid reproduction, with painted highlights, of Dulac's illustration accompanying Poe's poem, To the River. Gilt ornamented raised bands. Gilt framed compartments. Broad turn-ins with corner-pieces. Top edge gilt. A very fine copy. Housed in the binder's fleece-lined black cloth slipcase. One of the most striking and beautiful inlaid bindings that we have seen.

“Dulac’s pictures for The Bells were more uniform in mood and style than groupings for almost any other book of his to this time. Although water colours, they are overstreaked with gilt in some cases, crayon in others, to produce rich haunting effects. Deep shades of blue and a special deep pink-rust predominate throughout...The Outlook, which printed, in black and white, plate 22... commented: ‘…for the book thinking people will say with grace…sometimes Dulac’s pictures are deep-coloured and intense, sometimes dim and ghost-like. But one and all are sensitized to record impressions of unearthly beauty or horror. Only Poe could have written the poems. Only Dulac could have illustrated them.’…Not to be overlooked here are the sophisticated ink drawings Dulac made for headpieces. Although many of the books he illustrated had small ink decorations throughout…he had not worked in this medium so fluently since the days of doing illustrations for The Pall Mall magazine (1906-1908)…As the 10 Bells headpieces show, he had now become truly masterful with his pen” (Hughey).

"The Bells" is perhaps best known for the musical use of the word "bells." The poem has four parts to it, and each becomes darker and darker as the poem progresses. The bells of which he writes are thought to be those heard from Fordham University's bell tower; Poe resided in the same Bronx neighborhood. He also frequently strolled about Fordham's campus conversing with both the students and the Jesuits. Poe is believed to have written "The Bells" in May 1848 and submitted it three times to Sartrain's Union Magazine until it was finally accepted. He was paid fifteen dollars for his work. But it remained unpublished until after his death in November 1849.

The great Christopher Lewis began his career at the internationally renowned Bayntun-Riviere Bindery of Bath, England, during the early 1960s as a finisher. In the 1970s, he established his own bindery and further developed his masterful inlay, onlay, and gilt work, incorporating innovative painted highlights for heightened dramatic visual effect.

Hughey 29. Item #02124

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