First edition of Tennyson's never-staged play, an attractive copy with a hidden fore-edge painting.
Poetic works are a perennial favorite for fore-edge painters; fore-edge painting historian Carl J. Weber notes that almost half of all the paintings he examined for his history of the art adorned books by English poets (182). Tennyson's use of visual imagery and his often-sentimental tone predisposed his works to the fore-edge painter's brush. This copy of QUEEN MARY, following the ultimately tragic efforts of Mary Tudor as she strove to bring Catholicism back to England, features a fore-edge scene of the then-abandoned Castle Stalker (of later MONTY PYTHON fame) on Loch Leven.
While not an exact copy, the fore-edge painting bears a striking resemblance to a plate of Castle Stalker as drawn by Thomas H. Shepherd, published in the 1829 work MODERN ATHENS. Its rather naive style and the fact that the painter oriented it "backwards" – visible when the edge is fanned from the end of the book, rather than the beginning – suggests that it is the work of a talented amateur. A delightful object.
Read more: Carl J. Weber, Fore-Edge Painting.
London: Henry S. King & Co, 1875. 6.5'' x 4.25''. Contemporary green goatskin binding with gilt tooling to boards, four raised bands. All edges gilt. Fore-edge painting of Loch Leven. Original blue silk bookmark ribbon. 278 pages. Binding with a touch of rubbing to corners and spine ends, a bit of sunning to spine. Sharp.
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