London: The Boydell Press, 1985. Item #04654
The Boydell Press facsimle of Beardsley's Morte D'Arthur
[BEARDSLEY, Aubrey, illustrator]. MALORY, Sir Thomas. The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur, of His Noble Knights of the Round Table, Their Marvellous Enquests and Adventures, the Achieving of the San Greal, and in the End, Le Morte Darthur, with the Dolourous Death and Departing out of This World of Them All. The text as written by Sir Thomas Malory and imprinted by William Caxton at Westminster the Year MCCCCLXXXV and now spelled in modern style. With an introduction by Professor Rhys and embellished with many original designs by Aubrey Beardsley. [London: J.M. Dent & Co., 1893-1894]. London: The Boydell Press, 1985.
"Facsimile reprint edition of the small paper issue of the first edition with the addition of a new introduction. This edition is limited to 500 copies" (of which this is no. 254). (limitation page).
Two quarto volume (9 3/8 x 7 inches; 239 x 178 mm.). lxiv, 455, [1, blank]; , lxv-xc, -990, , [1, blank] pp. In addition there is a 24 page introduction by Derek Brewer at the beginning of the first volume. With two facsimile photogravure frontispieces, eighteen facsimile wood-engraved plates (five double-page), numerous text illustrations, and approximately 350 chapter headings, borders, and initials, all after designs by Beardsley.
Publisher's tan-colored silk cloth over boards pictorially stamped in gilt on covers and spine in a design by Beardsley. Spine lettered in gilt and blind. A fine copy.
In 1892, seeking to emulate the books of the Kelmscott Press, John M. Dent commissioned the twenty-year-old Beardsley to produce this edition of Le Morte D’Arthur. The 351 designs appearing in the first edition required eighteen months for the artist to complete. Beardsley, bored with the project, at last refused to complete Dent’s original projection of 500 drawings. Of this, Beardsley’s first major work, John Lewis states: “In Le Morte D’Arthur Beardsley learnt his job, but the result is no bungling student’s work…If he had never illustrated another book, this edition of Morte D’Arthur could stand as a monument of decorative book illustration” (in The Twentieth Century Book, pp. 148-149).