Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The. RUBÁIYÁT OF OMAR KHAYYÁM, RIVIÈRE, binders SON, Gilbert JAMES.
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The

London: Robt. Riviére & Son., Ltd., 1928. Item #05321

An Exceptionally Fine Rivière Rubaiyat
With Twelve Hand-Colored Illustrations by Gilbert James

[RIVIÈRE & Son, binders]. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Translated by Edward Fitzgerald. [Illustrated by Gilbert James]. London: Robt. Riviére & Son., Ltd., 1928.

"This special edition of the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, with twelve hand-coloured illustrations, is printed in Caslon Old Face type on Studio hand-made paper."

Octavo (8 x 5 3/8 inches; 204 x 137 mm.). [ii, blank], [iii-viii], 75, [1, imprint] pp. With twelve illustrations by Gilbert James hand-colored and heightened with gold, and printed with blue initials for each stanza. Some light marginal foxing to plates, otherwise fine.

Bound ca. 1928 by Rivière & Son (stamp-signed on front turn-in) in full blue crushed levant morocco. Front cover with a central oval panel with an onlaid brown-spotted serpent twining around a large gilt chalice. This central panel is surrounded by a floral border of inlaid green flowers on orange stems with bunches of grapes in purple. Inside a double-ruled gilt border on each cover is stanza number fifty-eight "Oh, Thou, who Man of baser Earth didst make, And who with Eden didst devise the Snake: For all the Sin wherewith the Face of Man Is blacken'd, Man's Forgiveness give - and take." Rear cover with a similar oval panel also surrounded by a floral border of inlaid green flowers on orange stems with bunches of grapes in purple, and with a single onlaid green flower and a central inlaid bunch of purple grapes. Spine with five raised bands decoratively bordered in gilt with inlaid purple morocco bunches of grapes in five of the panels and gilt lettered in the other, double gilt ruled board edges, elaborate gilt turn-ins, featuring a vine motif, marbled paper doublures and endleaves, all edges gilt. Front joint with minimal rubbing otherwise a near fine example of a late twenties Rivière 'Inlaid' binding. Engraved bookplate of Willsherr Lodge, the home of Samuel Clay Williams, on front pastedown.

A similar binding (but without the quotations on the borders of both covers) was sold in the Chevalier sale at Christie's New York, Friday November 9th, 1990, lot 63. We actually sold that copy to Paul Chevalier and then later to another private collector. Loosely inserted in the Chevalier copy was a pencilled note, identified by a second description as being in the hand of George Napier, an Edinburgh collector who commissioned a number of bindings. Napier explains his purchase of the book from Rivière in 1932 and that he commissioned  the special border now decorating the book. He adds that "George" at Rivière's explained that the chalice and serpent motif was designed by Alberto Sangorski, brother of George Sangorski the binder, and concludes with the mention of the "Great Omar", which sank with the Titanic.

First published in 1859, Edward FitzGerald’s version of Omar Khayyam’s quatrains was widely read only after it was taken up by the Pre-Raphaelites in 1861. The height of the poem’s popularity corresponded with the heyday of the illustrated book, and such well-known illustrators as Willy Pogany, Edmund Dulac, René Bull, Gilbert James, and Frank Brangwyn received commissions to illustrate the poem.

Gilbert JAMES (1865-1941) was one of the earliest and most prolific of the artists to take up the challenge of providing illustrations for FitzGerald’s verses and his work was reprinted many times in different forms during the twentieth century.

Samuel Clay Williams (1884-1949) lawyer and tobacco magnate.

Price: $7,500.00