Comus. John Milton, Arthur Rackham.
Comus
Comus
Comus
Comus
Comus
Comus

Comus

London: William Heinemann, [1921]. Quarto, measuring 11.5 x 9 inches: xviii, 76, [2]. Original vellum spine lettered in gilt, pictorial gilt-stamped parchment boards, pale blue and white pictorial endpapers, top edge gilt, all other edges uncut, text block partially unopened. Half-title, with limitation signed by Rackham on verso; pictorial title page. Frontispiece and 23 full-page color plates tipped onto heavy brown paper with printed tissue guards; dozens of black-and-white illustrations, including full-page designs, vignettes, frames, headpieces and tailpieces. Binding toned with small stray mark to base of upper board, light pink line to verso of front free endpaper.

Signed limited edition, number 540 of 550 copies signed by Rackham, of his treatment of John Milton's 1634 Comus (A Masque Presented at Ludlow Castle), in which the enchanter of the title kidnaps a principled young woman and attempts to corrupt her: “List, Lady: be not coy, and be not cosen'd / With that same vaunted name Virginity; / Beauty is natures coyn, must not be hoorded, / But must be currant." Milton's drama of chastity triumphing over license may seem an odd choice for Rackham, but the poem's dense classical allusions and invocation of “the pert Fairies and the dapper Elves" inspired some of the illustrator's most beautiful work, as in his portrait of “root-bound" Daphne fleeing Apollo. A very good example of a classic Golden Age gift book.

Price: $1,000.00

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