London: Nisbet & Co. Ltd., 1920. Item #03643
Edmund Dulac’s Illustrations for “The Kingdom of the Pearl”
[DULAC, Edmund, illustrator]. ROSENTHAL, Léonard. The Kingdom of the Pearl. Illustrated by Edmund Dulac. London: Nisbet & Co., [n.d., 1920].
One of 675 unsigned copies (this copy being No. 613), out of a total edition of 775 copies “for sale in the British Empire” (an additional 775 copies were published by Brentano’s, New York, in 1925 “for sale in the United States of America”).
Large quarto (11 1/4 x 9 inches; 285 x 230 mm.). , 150, , [1, printer’s imprint] pp. Ten mounted color plates, with descriptive tissue guards.
Original quarter white cloth over gray paper boards. Front cover stamped in silver with a design of stylized waves and sea shells and with a white paper label with gray lettering, spine pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt, gray decorative endpapers, top edge gilt, others uncut. Small split at lower edge of spine, lower board edges and corners a little rubbed. An excellent copy.
“Au Royaume de la Perle was first published in Paris (by Payot) in 1919 without benefit of the Dulac illustrations which the author Mr. Rosenthal so eagerly sought. But when, in 1920, Dulac found time to produce 10 pictures, Mr. Rosenthal not only purchased the water colours, but had another publisher, Piazza of Paris, publish a 1,500-copy new edition of his ‘Perle’ book with the Dulac illustrations. Also Dulac reveals in a reply to a Mr. Carroll of Massachusetts who hoped to buy one of the ‘Pearl’ illustrations that Mr. Rosenthal also purchased the copyright to the 10 pictures. However Mr. Rosenthal did allow his book with Dulac pictures and in English translation to be published in England by The Nisbet Publishing House…The English edition, although praised by The Times Literary critic as Dulac ‘at his best’ and ‘fantastically Persian,’ was not a commercial success. In order to make use of the 775 sheets remaining from 1,550 printed for the English edition, arrangements were made in 1925 to market an edition through Brentano’s, booksellers in New York…The ‘Pearl’ pictures indeed display a ripening of a Dulac style first seen in Sindbad the Sailor, employed in some of his Fairy Book pictures and developed fully in The Tanglewood Tales. It is a Persian miniature style, but made quite his own…His plates, truly genius, do much to bring a fanciful touch to the otherwise stark exposition of a treatise on pearls” (Hughey).