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  • Seller image for The Faerie Queene, Pictured and decorated by Louis Fairfax-Muckley, with an introduction by John W. Hales, M. A. Camb., Professor of English Literature at King's College, London. for sale by Peter Harrington.  ABA/ ILAB.

    First Fairfax-Muckley edition, one of 1,250 copies printed on ordinary paper, in addition to 100 on handmade paper, this copy bound in an arts and crafts manner by William Jessop Mansell. The edition was intended as a stylistic companion to Dent's edition of Le Morte d'Arthur (1894-95), illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley, and as a competitor to the George Allen edition of The Faerie Queene, illustrated by Walter Crane and published the same year. Fairfax-Muckley (1862-1926) was an influential leader of the arts and crafts "Birmingham School", having studied painting and drawing at the Birmingham School of Art in the early 1880s. A 1901 profile by the Society of Designers declares that he "has always had a strong bent towards the straightforward methods of the early painters. as witness the beautiful designs for his well-known edition of the 'Faerie Queene,' which fully express his natural admiration of the early Italian work" (p. 171). Dent commissioned Beardsley and Fairfax-Muckley to illustrate his deluxe arts and crafts publications in an effort to emulate the success of the Kelmscott Press. Society of Designers, 'A Designer of the Birmingham School', The Artist: An Illustrated Monthly Record of Arts, Crafts and Industries, 1901. Quarto (236 x 186 mm). Contemporary half vellum by W. J. Mansell of London, blue morocco spine labels lettered in gilt, spine richly tooled, blue cloth sides, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, pp. 2-4 and 13-14 of volume 1 reprinted and inserted at rear. Woodcut frontispieces and title pages, 25 woodcut illustrations, 11 bifolia and several with tissue-guards, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces, ornaments, and borders throughout. Binding square and firm, vellum somewhat marked and soiled, contents toned, faint foxing to endmatter. A very good copy.