Antony and Cleopatra, by William Shakespeare, from Julius Schroder, 1923

{Ed Note:  In early November, contributor DlphcOracl wrote an article on an absolutely beautiful edition of Hamlet. It was a 1920 publication by publisher Julius Schroder as part of a series “Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur mit Original-Graphik”  (Masterworks of World Literature with Original Artwork).  I asked DlphcOracl if he had another one from this series; this post is his response. By the way, the best is yet to come, a version of Faust from this same series will be reviewed in the next week or so.}

Concerning William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra from the  series “Meisterwerke der Wetliteratur mit Original-Graphik”, I have translated the colophon as closely as my one year of college level German will permit, so here it goes:

“This work  has 32 original sketches from  Max Ludwig and it was published between 1922-1923 in Munich-Tegernsee by Julius Schroder Verlag,  in a special limited edition of 200 copies.  It is volume 13 in the series “Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur mit Original-Graphik” (Masterworks of World Literature with Original Illustrations) in a deluxe limited edition of 200 copies designed by Dr. C. Wolf & Son and J.B. Obernetter in Munich, printed on genuine hand-made  “Zerkall-Butten” paper, and bound by hand in the bookbindery of Knorr & Hirth  (Munich).   The revised text from Professor Levin L. Schucking in Breslau follows the Clarendon edition.”

The remainder of the colophon describes supplements to the books in this edition as follows:  the book with Roman Numeral I contains sketches of the etchings,  books with Roman Numerals II through XXXXII contain a complete portfolio of the etchings and books numbered 1 through 32 have a copperplate with the stamp: “reproduction prohibited”.  I am less certain about the precise translation here but you get the idea.

The colophon is signed by the artist Max Ludwig and this copy is unique (numbered 1 B), printed specifically for a family member: “bestimmt fur Ilse Schroder”.  It is assumed that she was either a close family member (e.g., daughter, etc.) or the wife of the publisher, Julius Schroder.  The book binding is made of decorative gilt-stamped Japan vellum with vellum straps through the spine, elaborate tooling and gilt treatment to the binding and both front and rear covers, and beveled gilt-stamped dentils at the edges of the front and back vellum boards.  The bottom edge of the pages are uncut, the top edges are gilt embellished and all etchings, title page and colophon are protected with tissue guards.  The text is in English and the typeface is a Gothic German script.

Apparently there were four Wm. Shakespeare plays included in this ‘Meisterwerke’ series:  Hamlet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, and the Merry Wives of Windsor.  Strange choices, indeed — so much for ‘Meisterwerke der Weltliteratur’.  Julius Schroder, as many fine and private press publishers have before him and since, fell pray to his personal tastes and preferences in selecting the titles for his series.

Pictures

Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Vellum binding, front cover with hand-tooling and gilt design
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Book Spine
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Vellum rear over with identical tooling and gilt design
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Title Page
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Frontispiece
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Cast of Characters
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Opening page, Act One
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Second Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Sample Page with Text
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Second Sample Page with Text, Close-up
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Third Sample Page with Text and Illustration
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Opening page, Second act, scene 1
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Third Sample Page with Text
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Opening page, Third Act, scene 1
Antony and Cleopatra, from Julius Schroder, Colophon

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