Men of Mark.
First edition, first printing. Inscribed by the artist “To Hugh from Alvin, In grateful remembrance of January 14th – 24th 1935.” Coburn’s first book of portraits of the great and the good (it was followed some years later by More Men of Mark) features 33 portraits of artists, thinkers and writers such as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Henry James, Auguste Rodin, Henri Matisse, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Frank Brangwyn, William Butler Yeats, Robert Bridges etc. Coburn’s introductory text provides a running commentary on his pursuit of his subjects and their eventual capture on film. ‘To make satisfactory photographs of persons it is necessary for me to like them, to admire them, or at least to be interested in them. It is rather curious and difficult to exactly explain, but if I dislike my subject it is sure to come out in the resulting portrait. I had thought of using ‘Men of Genius’ as the title for this book, but Arnold Bennett objected seriously, saying, very modestly, that he did not consider himself a man of genius, but merely a working author, and absolutely refusing to join the throng unless I changed it, so I told him that if he would give me a better one I would use it. ‘Men of Mark’ is his alternative. ‘
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Quarto. Original linen-backed grey cloth, titles to front cover gilt. 33 tipped-in monochrome photogravure plates produced under the personal supervision of Coburn. Front cover lightly stained and marked, minor foxing to fore edge and preliminaries, otherwise internally clean and bright.