Beggar's Opera, The. ART DECO BINDING, John GAY.
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The
Beggar's Opera, The

Beggar's Opera, The

London: Daniel O'Connor, 1922. Item #04306

"Whore and Rogue They Call Husband And Wife:
All Professions Be-Rogue One Another"
In A Fine Art Deco 'Inlaid' Binding

[ART DECO BINDING]. GAY, John. The Beggar's Opera. With an introduction by Oswald Doughty… twenty-eight plates in collotype and a facsimile title of the first edition. London: Daniel O'Connor, 1922.

Extra-illustrated by the insertion of four early engravings mounted on card.

Large octavo (10 9/16 x 7 1/4 inches; 268 x 184 mm.). xxxiv, viii, 99, 91, imprint) pp. Title pages printed in red and black, twenty-four illustrations and plates together with an additional four early engravings mounted on card.

Bound in the 'Art Deco' style ca. 1922. Full brown morocco, front cover with a double-ruled gilt border enclosing gilt dots, in turn surrounding an inlaid dark green morocco frame richly decorated with gilt leaves and vines and each corner with four inlaid cream morocco flowers. In the center is a rectangular panel, double-ruled in gilt and lettered "The Beggars Opera by John Gay". Above and below this panel are gilt leaves and vines and six inlaid red morocco flowers. Lower cover with double-ruled gilt border enclosing gilt dots, enclosing two inlaid dark green morocco frames ruled in gilt. Spine with five raised bands, elaborately tooled in gilt in a floral design with four inlaid red morocco flowers. Lettered in gilt in two compartments, gilt decorated board-edges, and wide turn-ins with elaborate gilt flowers and stems. Brown watered silk liners and end-leaves, all edges gilt. With the book-plates of "HB" and "Jeffrey Stern" on verso of front free end-paper. Minimal wear to watered silk end-leaves otherwise near fine. Although unsigned, there is a small pencil notation on a front blank leaf "Designed and hand tooled by H. Brown. Forwarded by A. Warnock". We contacted Jeffrey Stern (a UK Antiquarian Bookseller) to ask if he had made the pencil note regarding H. Brown or A. Warnock - but alas it was so many years ago that he could not remember. In our opinion this binding was most certainly not done by an amateur - it has certain features which suggest the work of Alfred De Sauty who was working in London up to 1925. His London bindings were sometimes unsigned.

The Beggar's Opera is a ballad opera in three acts written in 1728 by John Gay. The tale of Peachum, thief-taker and informer, conspiring to send the dashing and promiscuous highwayman Macheath to the gallows, became the theatrical sensation of the eighteenth century. In The Beggar’s Opera, John Gay turned conventions of Italian opera riotously upside-down, instead using traditional popular ballads and street tunes, while also indulging in political satire at the expense of the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. Gay’s highly original depiction of the thieves, informers, prostitutes and highwaymen thronging the slums and prisons of the corrupt London underworld proved brilliantly successful in exposing the dark side of a corrupt and jaded society. The Beggar's Opera premiered at the Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre on 29 January 1728 and ran for 62 consecutive performances, the longest run in theatre history up to that time (after 146 performances of Robert Cambert's Pomone in Paris in 1671). The work became Gay's greatest success and has been played ever since; it has been called "the most popular play of the eighteenth century." In 1920, The Beggar's Opera began an astonishing revival run of 1,463 performances at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, London, which was one of the longest runs in history for any piece of musical theatre at that time.

John Gay (1685-1732) was an English poet and dramatist and member of the Scriblerus Club. He is best remembered for The Beggar's Opera (1728), a ballad opera. The characters, including Captain Macheath and Polly Peachum, became household names.

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