Austen's Beardsley-Influenced Illustrations
In A Charming Riviere & Son Onlaid Binding
[RIVIÉRE and SON, binders]. AUSTEN, John. "Rogues in Porcelain." A Miscellany of Eighteenth Century Poems Compiled & Decorated by John Austen. London: Chapman & Hall Ltd, 1921.
First edition. Octavo. , 258 pp. 9 1/8 x 5 7/8 in; 235 x 149 mm). Color frontispiece, fourteen full-page color illustrations (one double-page), color headpieces, black and white tailpieces.
Contemporaneously bound by Riviere & Son (stamp-signed) in full crimson crushed morocco with gilt Islamic border design enclosing a central pictorial panel of vari-colored morocco onlays reproducing the headpiece to The Gift on page 245. Broad gilt-ruled turn-ins with corner-pieces. Color-illustrated endpapers. All edges gilt. Gilt ruled and ornamented compartments, gilt-ruled raised bands. Lower portion of front joint expertly and almost invisibly repaired.
A charming and delightful collection of 18th century English love poetry.
John Austen (1886-1948) was one of the many young illustrators over whom Aubrey Beardsley’s etiolated shadow fell from 1900 onwards. As Impressionism and Art Nouveau were confronting and confusing the public, the "decadent" style of Beardsley was finding its own audience. Harry Clarke, Nielsen, Alastair, and others were enamored with the strength of line and form and startling, solid blacks. After 1922, Austen changed his style as the Beardsley look became increasingly unfashionable. While artists such as George Barbier took Beardsley’s innovations in a new Art Deco direction, Austen followed a different trend of stylisation that was very popular among illustrators of the 1930s.
Robert Riviere (1808–1882), bookbinder, was born in London in 1808. On leaving school, in 1824, he apprenticed with Messrs. Allman, the booksellers, of Princes Street, Hanover Square. In 1829 he established himself at Bath as a bookseller, and subsequently as a bookbinder in a small way, employing only one man. But not finding sufficient scope for his talents in that city, he came in 1840 to London, where he commenced business as a bookbinder.
The excellent workmanship and good taste displayed in his bindings gradually won for them the appreciation of connoisseurs, and he was largely employed by the Duke of Devonshire, Mr. Christie-Miller, Captain Brooke, and other great collectors. He also bound for the queen and the royal family. In the Great Exhibition of 1851 he exhibited several examples of his skill, and he obtained a medal.
The bindings of Riviere, in the quality of the materials, the forwarding, and in the finish and delicacy of the tooling are deserving of almost unqualified commendation. His bindings are wonderful specimens of artistic taste, skill, and perseverance.
Riviere bequeathed his business to this son-in-law in 1880, and the name of the firm was changed to Riviere & Son. Bayntun of Bath acquired Riviere c. 1930. Item #02240
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