London: William Heinemann, 1921. Item #04237
With Twenty-Four Mounted Color Plates by Arthur Rackham
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. MILTON, John. Comus. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. London: William Heineman[n.d., 1921].
Edition De Luxe. Limited to 550 copies (this copy being no. 375).
Large quarto (11 5/8 x 8 7/8 inches; 295 x 225 mm.). xviii, 76, [1, blank], [1, printer’s device] pp. Twenty-four color plates mounted on brown paper, with descriptive tissue guards. Thirty-seven drawings in black and white.
Bound ca. 1992 by Sangorski & Sutcliffe for E. Joseph (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in) in full dark green crushed levant morocco. Covers ruled in gilt, front cover pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt to match the original 1921 cover design, spine paneled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt-ruled board edges and turn-ins, top edge gilt, others uncut, original pictorial endpapers. Fine.
"Another, more important, publication of Rackham's in 1921 was a long-delayed edition of Milton's Comus, the drawings for which, begun before the war, deserve to rank with his best work of that earlier period..." (Hudson, p.119).
Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634) is a masque in honour of chastity, written by John Milton. It was first presented on Michaelmas, 1634, before John Egerton, 1st Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle in celebration of the Earl's new post as Lord President of Wales. Known colloquially as Comus, the masque's actual full title is A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: on Michelmas night, before the Rt Hon. Iohn Earl of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly, Lord President of Wales, and one of His Maiesties most honorable privie councill. Comus was printed anonymously in 1637, in a quarto issued by bookseller Humphrey Robinson; Milton included the work in his Poems of 1645 and 1673. Milton's text was later used for a highly successful masque by the musician Thomas Arne in 1738, which then ran for more than seventy years in London.
Latimore and Haskell, pp. 54-55. Riall, p. 143.