JOYCE, James.

Pomes Penyeach.

Initial Letters Designed and Illuminated by Lucia Joyce.

Paris: The Obelisk Press, & Desmond Harmsworth Ltd, London, 1932 Stock Code: 139014

One of a handful of copies in private hands

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First English edition (printed in France), number 13 of 25 copies signed by the author, which, together with 6 hors de commerce copies, not for sale and inscribed by Joyce with the name of the recipient, comprised the total edition; this is one of a handful of copies still in private hands. Joyce's daughter designed the illuminations as artistic therapy.

Pomes Penyeach was first published by Shakespeare & Co. in Paris in 1927; this edition features a facsimile of Joyce's handwritten manuscript of the poems with Lucia Joyce's illuminated initial capitals printed using the pochoir stencil technique. After an unsuccessful attempt at a career as a dancer and her hospitalisation for schizophrenia in the first half of 1932, Joyce encouraged Lucia to pursue illustration as an artistic outlet and as a method of therapy. This was the first of Joyce's works for which Lucia produced lettrines. She also illustrated Joyce's The Mime of Mick, Nick and the Maggies (1934) and an edition of Chaucer's work published by the Obelisk Press, entitled Chaucer ABC (1936).

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Oblong folio. 9 folio leaves of Japan nacre paper, folded and laid loosely one within another, edges untrimmed. With the green watered silk portfolio, green silk ties, front board lettered in gilt. Housed in a dark green quarter morocco solander box and matching chemise by the Chelsea Bindery.


Text in facsimile of Joyce's manuscript fair copy to rectos; hand-coloured initials by Lucia Joyce at the beginning of each poem; tissue leaves laid in before each page, each with text of respective poem printed in green to lower left-hand corner.


In exceptionally nice condition; a superb copy.


Slocum & Cahoon 27. Neil Pearson, Obelisk: A History of Jack Kahane and the Obelisk Press, A-17.


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