An English Version of the Eclogues of Virgil. With Illustrations by the Author. Edited by A.H. Palmer.

An English Version of the Eclogues of Virgil. With Illustrations by the Author. Edited by A.H. Palmer.
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London: Seeley & Co, 1883. Folio, (ii), xvi, 102 pp., title-page printed in red and black, 14 plates including 5 original etchings and 9 reproductions from drawings by Palmer. Original white vellum over boards, lettered in gilt, uncut. Spine slightly age-toned, faint foxing to endpapers; a very good copy. Original invoice for this book, from Richard Jackson, Leeds, loosely inserted. First edition, large-paper copy limited to 135 copies (#33). The book was unfinished when Palmer died, so it was completed by his son A.H. Palmer. Of the 5 original etchings in the book, only one was completely etched and finished by Samuel Palmer, “Opening the Fold” or “Early Morning”: Lister 13.vii. Sophie Schneideman noted of her copy: “He writes in the introduction that Samuel Palmer was a great admirer of Virgil and that in about 1856 he had begun writing a paraphrase of the Eclogues in English verse so that "those who do not read them in the original should have some version from which the pastoral essence had not quite evaporated". It took him years and he imagined that each Bucolic would have an exquisite etching or woodcut at the head of it. In 1872 he wrote "If Blake were alive and I could afford it, I would ask him to make a headpiece of each". He later began some designs for them himself in ink on cardboard. He wrote to Mr. Hamerton about them "I hope to make them distinctly the best things I have ever done". After some thought Palmer decided that he should go back to his favorite medium of etching for the illustrations. As he son notes, although he had given only 10 etching to the world in almost 25 years, this was not light undertaking by "a labor of love". It wasn't until 1881 that he really got going only to be struck down. He died in May telling his son of his wish that the Virgil should be finished. He used the original drawings and his father's notes on proofs. One plate had been finished by Palmer and others were well advanced and then finished by his son from Palmer's notes but some of the designs had not been etched. So those that had been etched are printed here from the plate and for the other illustrations the drawings have been reproduced using photo-engraving.” Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England from 1790-1914, 222. (Item Id: 108628)

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