Jerusalem [and] Tel-Aviv:: Published by “Massadah” and “Alumoth” , 1957. Item #05500
"Worthy to be Placed Among the Most Beautiful of Books that the Hand of Man has Produced"
One of a very few copies of the trade edition bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe
[SZYK, Arthur, illustrator]. The Haggadah. Executed by Arthur Szyk. Edited by Cecil Roth. Jerusalem [and] Tel-Aviv: Published by “Massadah” and “Alumoth” 1962.
A Special Copy of the 1957 Trade Edition - Bound by Sangorski and Sutcliffe in the Deluxe Full Morocco Binding of the Original Edition of 1939.
Later trade edition (first published in 1939 in a deluxe limited edition of 250 copies).
Large quarto (10 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches; 268 x 210 mm.). Printed in black, sanguine, purple, blue, red, and green inks on  double-folded leaves. Fourteen full-page and numerous vignettes and border decorations printed in color. Text in English and Hebrew on facing pages (the illustrations are on the Hebrew pages). “The illustrations contained herein are reproductions of originals of Arthur Szyk of New-Canaan, Connecticut, U.S.A. Engraved by The Sun Engraving Co., England” (verso of title-page).
Publisher’s full blue morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (stamp-signed in gilt on the front turn-in). Covers with gilt triple fillet border, front cover stamped in gilt with a large emblem of a high priest holding the matzoh and Passover wine, spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt in compartments, board edges with gilt dotted rule, turn-ins decoratively
tooled in gilt, Szyk’s illustration of Moses supporting the Ten Commandments printed monochromatically on cream paper and mounted as doublures. A very fine copy.
“During many of his years of travel, Szyk had been working on a large project of illumination, The Haggadah. The work took on a special meaning in light of the then growing anti-Semitism in Europe. Passover is a festival of freedom, and The Haggadah tells the story of Jewish liberation from slavery in Egypt. In order to heighten the topical message and relate the historical events to contemporary ones, Szyk emblazoned the Egyptians with the Nazi swastika. However, fearing reprisals, publishers on the continent would not touch the book as long as it included this symbol… Szyk removed the swastika, believing that the underlying message of the book was still clear and it was more important to see the project through to publication.
A deluxe volume in a limited edition of 250 copies was published in 1940 by the Beaconsfield Press in London. Bound in gold-stamped leather, with end pages printed on silk, the full color illuminations are printed on double-leaf parchment and an English translation is matched to the Hebrew text. While the pages of English are decorated with small, intricate, sepia-toned emblems, the emphasis in on the illuminated Hebrew pages and the brilliant colors and striking combinations which are jewel-like in affect. This book was amongst the most expensive new publications - in 1940 the price in the USA was $525 and in the UK 100 Guineas (£105.00).
One contemporary reviewer [‘The Haggadah—A Sumptuous Illustrated Edition,’ The Times Literary Supplement, 22 February 1941, p. 9] called it ‘worthy to be placed among the most beautiful of books that the hand of man has produced’. The first copy of the printing was presented to George VI, King of England, to whom the book is dedicated” (Irvin Ungar, Justice Illuminated: The Art of Arthur Szyk (1999), pp. 80-81).