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Jacob’s Room.
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WOOLF, Virginia.

Jacob’s Room.

Published: Richmond: Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press, 1922

Stock code: 87261

Price: £87,500

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This item is on show at 43 Dover Street (map)

First edition, first impression, presentation copy to Vanessa Bell, inscribed by the author on publication: “Vanessa Bell from V.W. Oct. 1922”. An exceptional association copy: Jacob’s Room was the first of VW’s books for which Vanessa Bell designed the dust jacket, and the text represents VW’s attempt to do in fictional form what her sister had been doing with her paintings for the past decade. Jacob’s Room does not carry a formal dedication, but given the collaboration between the sisters in its design and the identity of their artistic aims, this might be regarded as the de facto dedication copy. “Woolf’s family portrait-making in Jacob’s Room can be seen as a literary rendering of her sister’s experiment, in particular Studland Beach and her portraits of 1911–13. The affinities between the two works lie in their elegiac emotion as part of the Post-Impressionist method. In their reaction to the work of the Post-Impressionist painters, both women artists depart from realist representation of people and places and seek to influence the audience’s emotions through formal means” (Justyna Kostkowska, “Studland Beach and Jacob’s Room: Vanessa Bell’s and Virginia Woolf’s experiments in portrait making 1910–1922”, Partial Answers (9:1) Jan. 2011, pp. 79–83. Virginia Woolf noted in her diary for Saturday 14 October 1922: “I have seen Nessa, Maynard, Lydia, Desmond, Saxon, Lytton, Frankie Birrell & Marjorie Fry, all within this week; & had two letters, from Lytton & Carrington, about Jacob’s Room, & written I don’t know how many envelopes; & here we are on the verge of publication … Richmond writes to ask that date of publication may be put ahead, so that they may notice it on Thursday.” Jacob’s Room was due to be—and was—published on Friday 27 October. The first edition was of 1,200 copies. The first full-length book to be published by the Hogarth Press, its publication marking the moment when the Woolfs decided to run the Press as a genuine business concern.

Octavo. Original crocus-yellow cloth, printed paper spine label. With the dust jacket designed by Vanessa Bell. Housed in a black quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery. Cloth soiled and darkened, label rubbed and chipped, short tear to lower joint at head, inner hinges cracked, an artist’s copy in the chipped jacket that is dust-soiled, lacks the upper portion of the spine, and has the rear panel detached.

Bibliography: Kirkpatrick A6a; Woolmer 26.

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