The Flower Book.London: Henry Piazza et Cie, for the Fine Art Society, 1905 Stock Code: 146476
First edition, number 76 of 300 copies, initialled "F.A.S." (Fine Art Society) on the limitation page.
Burne-Jones (1833-1898) "began the series for his own pleasure in 1882, as a rest from more laborious work", and worked on the 38 roundels over the subsequent 16 years (Introduction). The roundels do not depict the flowers themselves, but were inspired by the folklore surrounding the flowers' names. Much of the folklore was told to Burne-Jones by Lady Eleanor Leighton Warren, a close friend and long-term correspondent of the family. Burne-Jones wrote to Leighton Warren asking for further tales, noting that, "I want the name and the picture to be one soul together" (Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones (1906) Vol. II p. 118). The roundels were worked in watercolour, gouache, and gold paint, and reproduced here by Piazza by hand-stencilling watercolour over collotypes using the pochoir technique. Notably striking plates include "The Witches' Tree" (xv), which is a treatment of "The Beguiling of Merlin", and "Meadow Sweet" (xxxv), which combines the ship from "The Sirens" with the central figures of "Arthur in Avalon". Burne-Jones's wife, Georgina, who was responsible for the publication, sold the original plates to the British Museum in 1909.
Folio (320 x 262 mm). Original green morocco, spine and front cover lettered in gilt, frames to covers in gilt, top edge gilt, others untrimmed, grey endpapers. Housed in the original green cloth box.
Printed in red and green. With 38 colour plates and 4 pages of facsimile manuscript.
Initial blank with gift inscriptions dated 1906 and 1942 in ink and pencil respectively. Box worn but holding without restoration; the book in fine condition, contents clean and fresh, binding without wear, sunning, or splitting, an exemplary copy.
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