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COBURN, Alvin Langdon.


With an Introduction by Hilaire Belloc.

Duckworth & Co. & Brentano's, London & New York , [1909] Stock Code: 132333
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First edition, first impression of this masterpiece of early twentieth-century photography. Boston-born Coburn based himself in London from around 1906, learning how to make photogravures at the London County Council School of Photo-engraving, and establishing a studio with two copperplate printing presses at the home he shared with "his domineering mother" in Hammersmith. "In the period 1909-14 he etched and steel-faced eighty-three plates, and oversaw the printing of some 40,000 hand-pulled gravures " (ODNB). His first two publications London (1909) and New York (1910), were intended as the start of a series, exploring "the adventures of cities" each "containing twenty luscious hand-pulled photogravures" (Parr & Badger). A member of the Photo-Seccession with Stieglitz and Steichen, Coburn began working within a symbolist-pictorialist framework, but he came to be influenced by modernism," a friend of the Cubists, Vorticists and Imagists, Coburn had one foot in the nineteenth century and one foot in the twentieth century. At their best his photographs straddled the divide". A carefully restored copy of this austerely handsome, but rather fragile, book.

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Folio. Original bottle-green sheep-backed mid-brown-grey paper covered boards, title gilt to front cover, mottled grey endpapers. In the grey paper dust jacket, front panel with the title blocked as per the binding.


With 20 gravure plates, hand-pulled by Coburn, tipped on to heavy grey mottled paper.


Spine sunned to brown, skilful restoration on the joints and at head and tail, prelims lightly foxed; jacket with tan-burn to the spine, slightly rubbed and spotted, small chip at the tail edge of the front panel, splits to the joints now lined with japanese tissue, some similar reinforcement along the edges, a very good copy.


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Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

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