London: Hutchinson & Co., 1916. Item #03527
With Sixteen Full-Page Color Plates by René Bull
[BULL, René, illustrator]. MÉRIMÉE, Prosper. Carmen. Translated by A.E. Johnson. With Pictures by René Bull. London: Hutchinson & Co., [n.d, 1916].
First trade edition. Quarto (10 13/16 x 8 7/16 inches; 275 x 214 mm.). [2, blank], x, 204 pp. Color frontispiece and fifteen color plates, with descriptive tissue guards. Seventy-four black and white illustrations in the text.
Publishers red cloth over boards pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt on front cover and spine. Gray and white pictorial endpapers. Top edge gilt, others stained red. Gilt on spine dull, some light wear to extremities, neat ink inscription dated 1917 on front free endpaper, and another ink inscription on front blank leaf. A good copy of an uncommon book.
Rene Bull's vibrant illustrations perfectly capture the intense drama of love and jealousy in Prosper Mérimée's tale which was the basis for Georges Bizet's opera of the same title.
René Bull (d. 1942) “was born in Ireland and went to Paris to study engineering, but left this for art work in London, 1892. After working for various magazines, he was appointed ‘special’ for Black and White, 1896, attending the Armenian massacres and the Graeco-Turkish War as artist…He served in the First World War in RNVR, 1916, and RAF, 1917. Bull was one of the most versatile specials because his stature as an artist was above average. Not only an accurate reporter, he was a talented comic draughtsman and a brilliant illustrator of fairy stories” (Houfe, The Dictionary of 19th Century British Book Illustrators, p. 81). Works illustrated by Bull include: La Fontaine’s Fables (1905), Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris (1906), The Arabian Nights (1912), The Russian Ballet by A.E. Johnson (1913), Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1913), Carmen, by Prosper Mérimée (1916), and Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, by Jonathan Swift (1928).