London: Freemantle & Co.,, 1901. Item #03731
"Hell is Empty and all the Devils are Here" (The Tempest, William Shakespeare)
Illustrated by Robert Anning Bell
One of 174 Numbered Copies Signed by the Artist
BELL, Robert Anning, illustrator. SHAKESPEARE, William. The Tempest. A Comedy by William Shakespeare. Decorated by Robert Anning Bell. London: Freemantle & Co., 1901.
First edition thus. One of 174 copies (this being No 94) signed by the artist.
Quarto ( 10 1/16 x 7 1/4 inches; 256 x 184 mm.). [xii], 106, , [1, imprint] pp. With a frontispiece, pictorial title-page, twenty-five full-page illustrations, numerous half-page illustrations, head and tailpieces and initial letters all by Robert Anning Bell.
Publisher's yap-edged vellum, front cover pictorially stamped in gilt, spine decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt, pictorial end-papers printed in green, top edge gilt, others uncut, three (of four) silk ties missing. A near fine copy housed in a custom made black cloth clamshell case.
Robert Anning BELL, R.A., R.W.S. (1863-1933) was educated at University College School in London. At the age of fifteen he was articled for two years to an architect uncle before studying at the Royal Academy Schools, the Westminster School of Art (under Fred Brown), in Paris (under Aimé Morot) and, later, in Italy. On his return from Paris, he shared a studio with portrait sculptor George Frampton and together they developed a line in hand-colored plaster reliefs, in imitation of Della Robbia. His early architectural training and his close friendship with architects and sculptors made him the ideal artist for decorative schemes, and by the eighteen-nineties he had become an important figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement.
His early illustrative work, in pen and ink and watercolor, includes a number of Shakespeare-related volumes: Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1899), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1895), The Tempest (1901) and Shakespeare’s Heroines (1901). These display a concern for the page as a whole of flatness and lightness similar to those found in Walter Crane and Charles Ricketts.
From 1894, he was on the staff of the School of Architecture, University College, Liverpool, later becoming a Professor of both University College, Liverpool, later becoming a Professor of both Glasgow School of Art (1918-24). He was also an honorary associate of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1916), and Master of the Art Workers’ Guild (1921).ß He began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1885 (ARA 1914, RA 1922) and at the New English Art Club in 1888 (NEAC 1892), while his solo shows included one at the Fine Art Society in 1907. He was also organized a number of international exhibitions of arts and crafts. His paintings were worked in both oil and tempera, but with an increasing preference for watercolor he became an active member of the Royal Society of Painters in Water-Color (ARWS 1901, RWS 1904) and, in 1925, wrote an essay in praise of the medium (Old Water-Color Society’s Club, Volume 11). His death on 27 November 1933 was followed in March 1934 by a memorial exhibition at the Fine Art Society.