Tannhauser, by Richard Wagner, illustrated by Willy Pogány. The First Willy Pogány Trade Edition. Published by Geoge G Harrap & Co Ltd London 1911
Large hardback in original grey/green cloth, ornate gilt lettering and decorations plus coloured pictorial stamping to upper board, gilt lettering to spine, grey pictorial endpapers printed in three colours, 16 full-page stunning mounted colour plates with decorative borders to mounts, plus 1 small mounted colour plate as the frontispiece, “illuminated” half-title and title pages, every page decorated or illustrated including many full page, most pages printed in two colours, orange and black, calligraphic text, unpaginated, 11.25” x 8”. Letterpress and line illustrations printed by Vincent Brooks, Day and Son Ltd, four-colour plates process by Henry Stone and Son ltd. Banbury.
First Pogany trade edition, dated MCMXI (1911) to last page.
as recorded by Robin Greer (Willy Pogany bibliography, IBIS Journal 1).
Willy Pogany’s remarkable interpretation of this Wagner story is a masterpiece of the era. Along with his two other Wagner books, Parsifal and Lohengrin, and the Samuel Coleridge’s, Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published between 1911 and 1913, Tannhauser stands as one of the great illustrated books of the Golden Age, profusely illustrated and decorated throughout, with wonderful attention to the design, both inside and out.
Pogany demonstrates his skills in every area, line drawing, decoration, illumination, watercolour painting, calligraphy and page layout, providing “a wealth of artistic detail which differentiates his work from all other English art books of the period”, as the publisher George Harrap writes in his memoirs. Felmingham also notes a distinct Gothic or Germanic fin de siècle flavour to Pogany’s Wagner trilogy, etc.
A fabulous book, highly collectable with the original first issue gilt decorated covers. The first edition of Pogany’s Tannhauser, as this copy, is quite different from the many re-issues that followed. These were all generally a smaller format, with fewer pages, less colour plates and much more basic page designs, and often without Pogany’s original calligraphic text.
THE COVERS ARE IN A RUBBED/CHIPPED CONDITION, GILT AND DECORATION STILL QUITE GOOD, SPINE IS POOR AND DARKENED. INSIDE HINGES STRONG, PAGES EDGES A BIT RUBBED/BROWNED, PAGES STILL QUITE BRIGHT, ONE PLATE WITH CORNER CREASES, (FINAL IMAGE). IN NEED OF SOME RESTORATION TO THE COVERS, BUT STILL A VERY RARE AND HIGHLY COLLECTABLE 1ST EDITION 1ST ISSUE. A VERY LARGE AND HEAVY BOOK. PLEASE SEE MY NUMEROUS PICTURES FOR THE TRUE CONDITION. STUNNING PLATES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
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