Rare portfolio of the production often considered the Detmolds' finest work, complete with 16 stunning color plates loose as issued.
Very good plus.
Done with the rich colors that typify the Detmolds' artwork, the reproductions found in the small book edition published five years later pale in comparison to these plates. Arguably among the finest book illustrations of all time, R. Dalby records: "These paintings were praised for their realistic detail and decorative arrangement"; Diana Johnson intriguingly adds: "The end result of this incongruous joining together of the quasi-scientific and the ornamental is an image which is both fanciful and often rather disturbing." The portfolio was published when the Detmold twins were only twenty years old, and proved to be their last collaborative work before Maurice committed suicide in 1908. It is not known how many of these portfolios were issued, but due to the high quality of the reproductions and the costs involved in printing and constructing the pictorial cases, the total number was undoubtedly very small. Because the illustrations almost look like original art when framed, that was the fate of most plates, so the set is rarely found complete.
Read more: Dalby, Golden Age of Book Illustration, p. 96; Johnson: RISD: Fantastic Illustrations, p. 61.
London: Macmillan, 1903. 22'' x 16''. Containing 16 plates plus a 4 page list of illustrations and title page, all loose as issued in gilt pictorial cloth case. The gilt eagle design on the cover of the case was also by the Detmolds. Plates vary in size, each mounted on archival board measuring 21.5'' x 15.5'' and matted. Each plate has a protective paper sheet captioned with the title of the illustration. The case has the usual wear, with a faint section of dampstaning (not affecting plates inside); the fold-over cloth flaps and joints with extensive repairs, some neat mends to many of paper protectors and contents pages, especially at joints. Overall this is a better than very good, nice complete copy.
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