Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Window, or the Song of the Wrens

Tennyson, Alfred (lyrics), and Arthur Sullivan (music), THE WINDOW: OR, THE SONGS OF THE WRENS (London: Strahan & Co., 1871). First edition, 31 x 24.5cm (folio), in publisher's royal blue patterned sand-grain cloth w/gilt title (Loves of the Wrens) & elaborate gilt & black decorations to fr. cover (blind ruling & leaf design only to rear), bevelled edges, a.e.g., chocolate ep.s w/binder's ticket (Burn) to rear pastedown, 54 [x] cardstock pp. w/titlepage printed in black & red, & Errata slip sewn in after p.[viii]. Printed by Virtue & Co., London. An interesting collaboration between the Poet Laureate & one of England's most important composers, this vol. was originally conceived in 1867 to include illus. by Arthur Hughes (& possibly J.E. Millais). However, the plan "fell through for some reasons I don't understand between the poet & publisher, and the poem is brought out without illustrations. They seem to be using the four I had sent in, in 'Good Words'; but as [the drawings] were made a much larger size, [Strahan] calmly takes off about an inch & a half all round them to fit the magazine" (Hughes to F.J. Shields, 11 Jan. 1871; MS.: U. of Kansas). Hughes's 4 designs for this book were printed, with edges trimmed, in Good Words (Jan.-Mar. 1871, facing pp.33, 113 & 183) & Sunday Magazine (Apr. 1872, p.505), & despite the fact that they were defaced by the publishers, the images still rank amongst his most powerful designs. Binding Very Good (extremities sl. bumped, spine & rear cover sl. marked, & hinges starting); contents Very Good (moderate occas. foxing). Slater p. 312, Ashley VII 133, Ehrsam & Deily 353. (Inv. #724) C$300

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