Doctor Faustus.London: printed at the Ballantyne Press [for the Vale Press], 1903 Stock Code: 139293
First Vale Press edition, sole printing, one of 310 copies on Arnold handmade paper. This entirely unopened copy is in notably bright and attractive condition.
The Vale Press was founded by noted art nouveau designer Charles Ricketts (1866-1931) in 1894. Influenced by both the aesthetic movement and William Morris's designs, his Vale press books are more classical than medieval in style and "the distinct personal element in these books derives from the woodcut designs and illustrations drawn and cut by Ricketts" (Ransom, p. 39). The colophon to this work states that this edition was "seen through the press" by the poet John Masefield. Ricketts, however, in his bibliography of the press, records its editor as Thomas Sturge Moore. Sturge Moore had edited the Vale Press edition of Shakespeare's Works, printed between 1900 and 1903, with which this edition is uniform; the border used here being the same as that of the Tragedies. The work was printed for the benefit of "The Romantic Stage Players", a name coined by Ricketts in the colophon for the coterie of stage writers and "would-be troubadours" around W. B. Yeats, of whom both Sturge Moore and Masefield were members (Schuchard, p. 77).
Octavo. Entirely unopened in the original green cloth, titles and dot design to spine in gilt, covers blocked in blind with geometric frame design around single central wheat sheaf designed by Ricketts.
Decorative frame to first page of text, Avon type.
Minor rubbing to spine ends, very faint offsetting to endpapers as often; else a fine copy.
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