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BELL, Robert Anning (illus.)

English Lyrics from Spenser to Milton.

Illustrations by Robert Anning Bell and Introduction by John Dennis.

London: George Bell & Sons, 1898 Stock Code: 142777
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First edition thus, illustrated by Bell, part of George Bell & Sons' Endymion Series, in an attractive arts and crafts binding. The binding is not signed, the "M.S." initials could be that of the binder, or simply in homage to Milton and Spenser.

Artist, illustrator and designer Robert Anning Bell (1863-1933) was an early member of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, showing regularly with the group and serving as the de facto official illustrator of its influential art magazine, The Studio. He was however not related to the publisher George Bell. "From the mid-1890s onwards Bell became increasingly successful as a book designer and illustrator. The subjects chosen were usually from literary sources including fairy tales, works by the romantic poets, and the Bible. His distinctive style, characterized by dreaming maidens in a setting of symbolist swirls, was redolent of the emerging European art nouveau movement" (ODNB). Bell's work was included in "The Last Romantics" exhibition at the Barbican Art Gallery in 1989, four of his paintings are in the Tate collection.

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Octavo (189 x 127 mm). Contemporary black morocco, titles in gilt direct to spine and front board, richly gilt with decorative roundels and foliate motifs to centre and corners of boards, spine, and turn-ins, repeated "M.S." initials to bottom edges of boards, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, blue silk bookmark.


Wood-engraved frontispiece and title page within decorative borders in red, numerous wood-engraved in-text illustrations, and 22 full page, by Robert Anning Bell.


A hint of wear to extremities, internally clean and fresh; a handsome copy.


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