Published by Bibliophile Society (1903)
Presentation copy. Folio, 63 x 45 cm. Bound in contemporary niger moroccan leather. Fine binding, with gilt paneling, turn-ins, and red morrocan doublure. Silk moire fabric end papers. Some wear / rubbing to cover. 5 etchings and 5 canceled proofs, with 4 of 5 lettered tissue guards. Plate mark, each with a Remarque by Pyle, each signed in pencil by Pyle and Bicknell below image. Contains: "Richard DeBury & the Young Edward III" (lacking stamped tissue guard, loose tissue guard in its place), "Roger Bacon," "Erasmus, Colet and More", "Izaak Walton", "Caxton at His Press," (minor spotting, blue ink mark bottom right). Tissue guards slightly spotted. Plates generally crisp and clean. 57 blank leaves at back. The Bibliophile Society commissioned Pyle to create a series of paintings of famous bibliophiles for Thomas Frognall Dibden's "Bibliomania or Book Madness." The work was so successful that it was decided to have Bicknell create etchings of them. This is an oversized or heavy book, which requires additional postage for international delivery outside the US. *Signed by artist*. Bibliophile Society, 1903. Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Signed.
Published by Bibliophile Society; Boston; 1903; Image size approx 17" X 10", Paper size 18 1/2" X 25 1/2" (1903)
Fine/G. First and only printing, limited to 302 sets according to Morse and Brinckle. This is a magnum opus for both Pyle and Bicknell, with the Bibliophile Society having commissioned Pyle to create a series of paintings of famous authors and bibliophiles for a four volume set of books on bibliomania. The work was so successful they decided to have Bicknell create etchings of them, after which they were reissued inside a large cardboard and wood clasped portfolio. Both Pyle and Bicknell also signed each etching in pencil. The five painting/etching subjects are: Roger Bacon seated on a bench in front of a fireplace in a monks robe (lost in deep thought with an open book in front of him); Erasmus, Colet and More seated at a table with Erasmus reading from an open book laid out on the table; Isaac Walton by a riverbank lolling against a tree with a book in hand and a picnic laid out; Caxton at his Press reviewing a quarto sheet with two of his craftsmen; and Richard de Bury tutoring young Edward III who is seated at a desk with a large open book in front of him.A complete set of the etchings is scarce, as most were quickly broken up, framed and dispersed. But it is rare to find a complete set still in the original quite solid portfolio that not only house the etchings themselves, but contains an additional set of the 5 etchings in their cancelled state (I.e. copies pulled after the original plates were scored so as to prevent further use).Each of the set of five etchings here being offered is in fine condition with the images crisp and dark, and with all items possessing their full original borders. While the corners of each etching show the remains of some adhesive (as if they were once mounted to something), it is not detrimental to the image or etching itself, since the borders are roughly 4" on each side and the residue does not encroach on the image or signatures in any way. Each etching is also neatly set inside a clear white mat and backing, but they are laid in rather than attached. The extra set of 5 cancelled etchings is then set in the bottom of the portfolio, also loose, and there are tissues separating all matted etchings as well as the cancels. It is possible the mats and tissues were added later.The portfolio itself measures 30" X 20 1/2", with thin wooden top and bottom and thicker wood sides. At one time there were metal clasps that held the top down to the side of the box, but both top clasps are now gone and only the side latches remain. The top of the box has 'Etchings', Pyle's name and 'The Bibliophile Society' printed in red, while Bicknell's name and an extended copyright notice printed in black. The box itself is complete with all sides, the top and the bottom present, but the sides are loose, the top cover has overall soiling and some edge chipping, and the cloth binding along the LH side is loose at the top. Even so, the box is so rare that one has to be very happy to have it at all.Overall, this is a highly desirable and thoroughly delightful complete set of these much sought after etchings that is greatly enhanced by the presence of the exceptionally scarce original box and rarely seen set of five cancelled etchings. TO SEE MORE PICTURES AND ADDITIONAL SPECIAL ITEMS, VISIT OUR BOOKSELLER's HOMEPAGE. Bibliophile Society; Boston; 1903; Image size approx 17" X 10", Paper size 18 1/2" X 25 1/2", 1903.