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With 122 original pen and ink drawings by Arthur Layard for his 1895 Mandeville

MANDEVILLE, John (edited and illustrated by Arthur LAYARD).

The marvellous adventures of Sir John Maundevile Kt. Being his voyage and travel which treateth of the way to Jerusalem and of the marvels of Ind with other islands and countries ...
Westminster, Archibald Constable & Co., 1895. With title-page in red and black, 26 full-page line illustrations (including the frontispiece; image size mostly about 15.5 x 9 cm) plus 102 smaller line illustrations (including tailpieces, small portraits, vignettes and initial letters (all the initials and tailpieces include pictorial decoration, so that they also serve as illustrations).
With: LAYARD, Arthur. [121 (of 128) original pen and black ink drawings to illustrate the 1895 Mandeville plus the drawing for the spine of the binding].
[London, 1894-1895]. Original pen drawings in black ink on fine wove paper, mostly twice the size of the illustrations as printed: 22 (image size about 31 x 18 cm) for the full-page illustrations and 99 smaller, plus the drawing for the gold-blocked spine of the publisher's binding. 8vo leaves (printed book) & various sizes (drawings) in a 1mo album (54 x 43.5 cm) in 2 volumes. Uniform half green goatskin morocco album (ca. 1913), signed with a stamp on the free end leaf ("Bound by Riviere & son"), gold-tooled spine.

€ 22,500

A large album in two volumes containing not only all leaves of Arthur Layard's 1895 edition of Mandeville's travels, a bibliophile edition of one of the greatest travel books of all time with 128 beautiful illustrations, but also the gold-blocked cloth from the publisher's binding, 121 of Layard's original pen and ink line drawings for its illustrations (nearly all twice the size of the illustrations as printed) and his drawing for the gold blocking on the spine, with its heraldic and other decoration. In 1894 The artist, vol. 15, p. 151, named Layard alongside Aubrey Beardsley and William Rotherstein (and no others) as leading decorative symbolists, but his present drawings for his Mandeville edition proved his crowning achievement. The book's mediaeval subject matter suited it perfectly to the spirit of the time, under the influence of John Ruskin and the gothic revival. It appeared one year before William Morris's Kelmscott Chaucer, but while the Socialist Morris's private press produced luxury books for the wealthy, the more pragmatic Layard worked with a commercial publisher to bring his illustration and decoration to a larger audience.
John Mandeville (active ca. 1321-1358) remains a shadowy figure and scholars continue to debate the authorship of the fantastic stories of travels in exotic lands from 1322 to 1356 that appeared under his name, first known from a 1371 manuscript in French. They clearly combine the story of a genuine voyage to and through the Middle East with stories passed on by word of mouth and sometimes borrowed from earlier publications. The whole is presented as Mandeville's eye-witness account of not only the Middle East but also Ethiopia, India, Tibet, the East Indies and China.
Cecil Sebag-Montefiore (1873-1923) purchased Layard's Mandeville drawings from the publisher. In 1900 they were hanging in his house, where Layard had designed his wood-panelled smoking room. He apparently had Riviere & son bind them with the leaves of the book in the present album around 1913.
The leaves of the printed book and one drawing are very slightly browned and the drawings have occasionally left a faint offset of the facing pages, but the whole album and its contents remain in very good condition, most of the drawings fine.
For Mandeville and the text: Cambridge history of English literature (1976), pp. 78-87; Howgego M39; Mee & Hammerton, The world's greatest books XIX (1910), pp. 210-218; for Layard: The poster: an illustrated monthly chronicle, IV (1900), pp. 16-19, & 43.

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Related Subjects:

Art & architecture  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours
Book history, education, learning & printing  >  Book History, Calligraphy & Printing
Cartography & exploration  >  Middle East & Islamic World
Middle east & islamic world  >  Arabian Peninsula & Gulf States