…So Few. A folio dedicated to all who fought and won the Battle of Britain, 10th July – 31st October 1940.London: The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund, 1990 Stock Code: 141274
NotesFirst edition, number 52 of 401 copies, signed by all six members of the creative team on the mounted authentication leaf. A magnificent tribute, containing 25 superb original silhouette portraits of distinguished RAF pilots from Britain and the Commonwealth, all signed by the sitter and the artist, Michael Pierce, together with his embossed stamp. Each portrait is accompanied by a biography of the subject, together with photographs of memorabilia and facsimiles of letters. The prospectus details the meticulous attention to detail during production: 500 sets of sheets were printed, with the best 401 hand-chosen and the rest pulped. The editor was noted historian of aviation Bill Gunston, who compiled the biographies in collaboration with former RAF pilot John Golley. Prince Edward contributes the preface. So Few, and its 1995 successor on Bomber Command, So Many, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, a success which led to trade issues by W. H. Smith. This deluxe issue is uncommon on the market today. The first copy was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. The list of contributors names several charitable organisations and other members of the Royal Family for whom copies would likely have been reserved.
Folio. Original blue crushed morocco over bevelled boards, raised bands to spines within gilt rules, titles to second compartments gilt, front cover lettered in gilt, with inset embroidered RAF brevet and gilt decoration, all edges gilt, marbled endpapers, bound blue silk page-makers. Housed in the original moiré silk-lined blue cloth solander box.
With 25 coloured silhouettes on card leaves, tipped in as issued, signed by the subject and artist, artist's embossed stamp, tissue-guards, numerous photographs (colour and black-and-white) and facsimiles to the text.
A fine copy.
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