London: Edward Moxon & Co.,, 1868. Item #03975
With A Double 'Erotic' Fore-Edge Painting
Bound by Thomas Kerslake of Bristol
[FORE-EDGE PAINTING]. TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord. Idylls of the King. A New Edition. London: Edward Moxon & Co., 1868. Small octavo (6 3/8 x 4 inches; 162 x 101 mm.). viii, 261, (1, blank) pp.
Bound by T. Kerslake & Co. Bristol (stamp-signed on verso of front end-paper). Full dark blue hard-grain morocco, front cover double ruled in blind with small gilt corner-pieces, surrounding an elaborate central strapwork design in gilt with orange-red onlays. Rear cover double ruled in blind with small gilt corner-pieces, spine with five raised bands, decoratively ruled in gilt and blind, four compartments with small onlaid red morocco flowers outlined in gilt, the remaining panel lettered in gilt, gilt board-edges and decorative gilt turn-ins, marbled end-papers, all edges gilt.
With a later double fore-edge painting beneath the gilt showing two 'erotic' scenes.
This edition of Idylls of the King, contains four of the narrative poems, Enid, Vivien, Elaine & Guinevere, by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892; Poet Laureate from 1850). They retell the legend of King Arthur, his knights, his love for Guinevere and her tragic betrayal of him, and the rise and fall of Arthur's kingdom. The individual poems detail the deeds of various knights, including Lancelot, Geraint, and also Merlin and the Lady of the Lake. There is little transition between Idylls, but the central figure of Arthur links all the stories. The poems were dedicated to the late Albert, Prince Consort. The Idylls are written in blank verse. Tennyson's descriptions of nature are derived from observations of his own surroundings, collected over the course of many years. The dramatic narratives are not an epic either in structure or tone, but derive elegiac sadness in the style of the idylls of Theocritus. Idylls of the King is often read as an allegory of the societal conflicts in Britain during the mid-Victorian era.
Thomas Kerslake (1812-1891) was an English bookseller, bookbinder and antiquarian. In 1828 he moved from Exteter to Bristol, and soon afterwards commenced business in second-hand bookselling in Barton Alley, together with his brother-in-law, Samuel Cornish. In 1830 the partnership was dissolved, and Kerslake removed to a shop at the bottom of Park Street. A disastrous fire occurred here in 1860. Kerslake continued on the same site however, until 1870, when he removed to Queen's Road, and shortly afterwards retired. For over twenty years after his retirement he devoted himself to antiquarian controversy.