London: The Folio Press, 1992. Item #04283
"Naked she lay, clasped in my longing arms,
I filled with love, and she all over charms…"
WILMOT, John. 2nd. Earl of Rochester. Perfect and Imperfect Enjoyments: Poems by John Wilmot Earl of Rochester. With an introduction by Christopher Hibbert and illustrated with paintings by Richard Shirley Smith. London: Folio Press, 1992.
Limited to 450 copies out of a total edition of 500 copies, this being No. 345, signed in pencil by Richard Shirley Smith.
Folio (12 x 8 3/8 inches; 305 x 213 mm.). 109, [1, blank], [1, limitation], [1, blank] pp. Eight color plates by Richard Shirley Smith.
Quarter bound in Oasis morocco with Cockerell hand-marbled paper sides, smooth spine lettered in gilt. As new in the original green board clamshell case and the original shipping carton.
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (1647-1680) was an English poet and courtier of King Charles II's Restoration court. The Restoration reacted against the "spiritual authoritarianism" of the Puritan era. Rochester, an English Libertine was the embodiment of the new era, and he is as well known for his rakish lifestyle as his satirical and bawdy poetry, although the two were often interlinked. He was the toast of the Restoration court and a patron of the arts. He married an heiress, Elizabeth Malet, and had many mistresses, including the actress Elizabeth Barry.
He died at the age of 33 from venereal disease.
Rochester's contemporary Andrew Marvell described him as "the best English satirist," and he is generally considered to be the most considerable poet and the most learned among the Restoration wits. His poetry, despite being widely censored during the Victorian era, enjoyed a revival from the 1920s onwards, with notable champions including Graham Greene and Ezra Pound. The critic Vivian de Sola Pinto linked Rochester's libertinism to Hobbesian materialism. During his lifetime, he was best known for A Satyr Against Reason and Mankind, and it remains among his best known works today.
Richard Shirley Smith (1935-) is that very rare thing, a thoroughly civilised artist whose love of tradition does not cramp his style. His work is full of the most extraordinary imagery: recondite references to ancient sculpture and buildings, Renaissance painting, history and and poetry combine in entirely original decorative flights of fancy. Surreal juxtapositions of architectural fragments, seashells and extravagant plant-forms abound, mixed sometimes with reminiscences of Victorian typography and period costumes, but almost always combined with representations of the bizarre found-objects which fill the artist’s studio and give him such evident delight and inspiration. (Abbot and Holder).