Fine Press Editions of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Part I

{Ed. Note: This is the first part of a two-part article by Books and Vines contributor Dlphcorcl discussing fine/private press editions of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  Part One discusses a number of editions, with a focus on Willy Pogany’s illustrations from George G. Harrap Ltd. in a vintage deluxe leather and gilt binding by Riviere, and on a set of Edmund Dulac’s illustrations taken from Cecile Mactaggart’s 1980 book: The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  A Personal Selection from the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald.  Part Two will be published next week.  It will revolve around a very unusual edition of the Rubáiyát with an ill-fated history, as well as a one-of-a-kind copy which is  a derivative of the just mentioned very unusual copy with bad karma.}

In previous Books and Vines articles we have made mention of “private press royalty”, i.e., books which are a favorite of fine & private presses with numerous editions published since the advent of the modern private press movement in 1890.  Shakespeare’s Poems and Sonnets, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and religious works such as The Book of Genesis and The Revelation of Saint John the Divine are some works of literature that instantly come to mind.  Edward Fitzgerald’s 19th century translation of Omar Khayyam’s poetry (the Rubáiyát) is a work that clearly exits within this pantheon.  This article will briefly discuss the work itself but will primarily focus on various private press editions of the Rubáiyát.

I. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

Omar Khayyam (1048-1131) was a Persian philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet who made significant contributions to the field of algebra and contributed to reform of the Iranian calendar.  Today he is best remembered for his poetry because of the translation and adaption of his work by Edward FitzGerald. Khayyam is believed to have written about one-thousand four-line verses or quatrains (‘rubaiyat’ in Arabic language).  FitzGerald’s work is not a literal translation and it is very much an original work in many respects.  It is not a direct reflection of Khayyam’s philosophy and the degrees of nihilism, hedonism, and preoccupation with mortality and the transience of life on earth are FitzGerald’s.  His genius lies in selecting from and organizing the nearly 1000 Khayyám quatrains into seventy-five quatrains initially, expanding them to about one-hundred quatrains in subsequent editions, and shaping them into a cohesive work by taking the initial idea or concern of each selected quatrain, then shaping and embellishing it.  If the primary thought was inconsistent with the direction FitzGerald wanted to take, he changed it.

In 1859 FitzGerald published the Rubáiyát as a small pamphlet which attracted little attention.  However, in 1860 it was discovered by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, then Algernon Swineburne, and it found favor in the pre-Raphaelite literary group.  Soon thereafter, it became enormously popular in Victorian England and then the United States.  What is not always appreciated is how subversive and heretical this poem is.  The poem’s overarching theme of seizing the moment and living for the day because there is no afterlife or world after this one is hardly the stuff of dreams in a staid, conservative Victorian society.  The poem is a celebration of agnosticism and Epicureanism – the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.  The transience and fleeting nature of our lives stands in stark contrast to the absence of an afterlife.  The stage for FitzGerald’s poem/translation may have been set one year earlier with the publication of Charle’s Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species perhaps forcing Victorian England to loosen its grip on conventional thought regarding the origin of life and the afterlife.  Despite the seemingly contrary themes of his poem with prevailing Victorian attitudes, the sheer musicality of his poetry prevailed and carried the day.  In a sense the immense popularity of FitzGerald’s Rubáiyát is confirmation of the poet Henry Austin Dobson’s maxim: “All passes.  Art alone endures.”

II. Illustrated Private Press Editions: “The First Time Proves To Be A Charm”

For serious  (seriously wealthy, that is!) book collectors, one of the great illustrated private press publications in a signed and limited edition should be at the top of the list.  Three publications stand out from the crowd:

1. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, the Astronomer-Poet of Persia, rendered into English by Edward FitzGerald with an Accompaniment of Drawings by Elihu Vedder, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, Boston (1884).

The first illustrated edition of the Rubáiyát proved to be a charm – a monumental edition illustrated by American artist Elihu Vedder published in 1884.   This pre-dates the founding of the Kelmscott Press and the beginning of the modern private press movement by six years, but, no matter – it is an astounding book.  It was issued in a Limited Edition of 100 copies, signed by Vedder,  in an elephant folio-sized edition (17.5 x 13 inches).   A superb discussion of the book and Vedder’s illustrations can be found on the American Art of the Smithsonian Institute website, written prior to their exhibit of a complete set Vedder’s fifty-five original illustrations for the Rubáiyát, now in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.

Vedder’s illustrations are unlike any that followed.  They are Symbolist, mystical and other-worldly in ways that the others are not.  The illustrations are nearly monochromatic, predominantly shades of brown and tan interspersed with black.  A new photographic process known as the Lewis prototype process reproduced Vedder’s illustrations and their subtle gradations of tone and color faithfully. Although the individual illustrations do not highlight and illustrate specific scenes and quatrains the way illustrations from Edmund Dulac, Rene Bull, and Willy Pogany do, they create an overall milieu and aura to the Rubáiyát which emphasizes the transience and cyclicality of life (and death) on earth.  They also have a timeless, immortal, antiquarian feel reaching back to Grecian and Roman antiquity, not surprising in view of Vedder’s many years abroad living in Rome.  Aside from his magisterial illustrations, Vedder designed the entire book, creating designs for the cover and endpapers and hand-drawing the eccentric letters for the text rather than relying upon selection of appropriate typeface, giving the calligraphy a distinct Oriental flavor.  This is a masterwork.

2. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Rendered into English Verse by Edward Fitzgerald.  With illustrations by Edmund Dulac.  London: Hodder and Stoughton (1909).

Edmund Dulac’s illustrations for the Hodder & Stoughton Rubáiyát were the high point of his career as a book illustrator.  He produced twenty magnificent illustrations for the signed, limited edition of 750 copies which were tipped in, mounted on heavy buff-colored paper with intricate gold decorative borders.  The text pages also had decorative borders and the poem was printed on hand-made paper. The binding was full vellum over stiff boards with elaborate decorative designs in gilt on the front cover complemented by a gilt top edge for the page block.  Dulac chose to portray Omar Khayyám as a middle-aged, bearded man emphasizing his contemplative nature and humility.  He is dressed simply, even humbly, without elaborate costume.  The illustrations are dark, muted and colorful in a subtle manner with a restrained feel for the Middle East and Oriental heritage of these poems.  More than any other work he would subsequently illustrate, Dulac’s illustrations give the reader a feel for the protagonist, emphasizing his humanity and sense of resignation to the uneven rhythms of life on earth, its high and low points.

3. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  Presented by Willy Pogany.  London: George G. Harrap & Co Ltd, 1909 and 1930.

Unlike Dulac’s illustrations for his Rubáiyát, Willy Pogany’s Rubáiyát illustrations are not the pinnacle of his career as a book illustrator.  Although Pogany designed and illustrated more than 150 books, his illustrations for The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and his masterful illustrations for the Wagnerian trilogy of Germanic tales (Lohengrin, Tannhauser and Parsifal) are far more successful and idiomatic.  It should be noted that Pogany produced two sets of illustrations for the Rubáiyát, one set for the 1909 Harrap publication (1st Fitzgerald edition) with 75 quatrains and a very different set for the 1930 Harrap publication which includes both the 2nd and 4th Fitzgerald editions of the Rubáiyát with 110 and 101 quatrains respectively.  As Pogany noted, his illustrations for the 1930 Harrap edition are quite a different interpretation, directed more toward Western tastes and “updated”, unsuccessfully I might add.  As is more often than not the case, the artist/author/poet usually “gets it right” the first time and subsequent changes, revisions, or reinterpretations are usually less successful.  Pogany produced twenty-five illustrations for the 1909 edition and twelve illustrations for the 1930 edition.  The later illustrations are lighter, brighter and more overtly erotic than either Vedder’s or Dulac’s illustrations – and not in a pleasing manner.  Pogany’s 1930 illustrations have more to do with the conventional 1920’s and 1930’s Hollywood (mis)interpretation of Persian and Oriental themes.   Whereas Dulac’s Omar Khayyám and other figures and heavily clothed with garments that hang and flow gracefully, drawn with meticulous care, Pogany’s female characters are displayed in varying degrees of nudity, lacking the mysticism of both Vedder’s and Dulac’s illustrations.

Similar to the signed limited edition with Dulac’s illustrations, the 1930 signed, limited edition of the George G. Harrap Rubaiyat was produced in a limitation of 750 copies signed by Pogany.  The binding was full teal crushed morocco leather with gilt-stamped design with red and pale calf floral onlay on the front cover, five raised bands on the spine with gilt lettering and top edge gilt, with marbled endpapers.  See here for pictures of this edition, reviewed some time back on Books and Vines.

III. An Unusual (and Unusually Intelligent) Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, designed and printed at the Curwen Press, London (1980).

When Edward FitzGerald realized that he had discovered and mined pure literary gold, a work that would have universal appeal and be translated into dozens of languages, he did what many other authors and poets had done before him – he continuously revised and tinkered with his poetic translation, unable to leave well enough alone.  During his lifetime he would write five distinct editions (the last published posthumously) of the Rubáiyát: the 1st edition – 1859 contained 75 quatrains, the 2nd edition -1868 (110 quatrains), the 3rd edition – 1872, the 4th edition – 1879, and the 5th edition – 1889 all contained 101 quatrains.  The first four editions were published under FitzGerald’s direct control whereas the fifth edition was edited posthumously from manuscript notes and revisions FitzGerald had left behind, discovered after his death. As is too often the case, FitzGerald’s initial instincts and earliest verses are more often than not his best but unlike most other literary meddlers the subsequent revisions vary considerably in their quality.  Indeed, some of the quatrains are improved with rewriting and revision.  All of this, of course, raises the inevitable question: which of the five editions is the best to publish and/or read ??   To Illustrate,  the opening quatrain appears as follows in Fitzgerald’s original and subsequent editions:

Fitzgerald 1st Edition (1859):

    Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
    Has found the Stone that put the Stars to Flight;
    And lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
    The Sultan’s Turret in a Noose of Light.

Fitzgerald 2nd Edition (1868):

    Wake! for the Sun behind yon Eastern height
    Has Chased the Session of the Stars from Night:
    And, to the field of Heav’n ascending, strikes
    The Sultan’s Turret in a Shaft of Light.

Fitzgerald 3rd Edition (1872):

    Wake! for the Sun who scatter’d into flight
    The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
    Drives Night along with then from Heav’n, and strikes
    The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.

Fitzgerald 4th and 5th Editions (1879 and 1889):

    Wake! For the Sun, who scatter’d into flight
    The Stars before him from the Field of Night,
    Drives Night along with them from Heav’n, and strikes
    The Sultan’s Turret with a Shaft of Light.

When one examines the changes between editions in the most famous of the Rubaiyat quatrains (the 11th or 12th depending on the edition) the results are even more striking:

1st Edition:

    Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – – and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness – –
    And Wilderness is Paradise enow.

2nd Edition:

    Here with a little Bread beneath the Bough,  
    A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – – and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness – – 
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

3rd Edition: 

    A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – – and Thou
    Beside me singing in the Wilderness – – 
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

4th and 5th Editions:

    A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,
    A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread – – and Thou
    Beside me singing the int Wilderness – – 
    Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow!

As one can see, the issue of which edition is best is not clear cut and even within a specific quatrain taken from various editions, one line may better from one edition whereas the following line from a different edition may be preferable.  What, dear Books and Vines readers, are we to do ??

This is precisely the question Cecile E. Mactaggart (CEM) asked herself in 1970 after she had discovered there were five different versions of the Rubaiyat.  In her heartfelt introduction she describes how a copy of the Rubáiyát became her initial purchase of a private press book from a fine bookseller during her first trip to London as an adolescent and her subsequent lifelong fascination with Edward Fitzgerald’s masterwork. She asked herself:

What if someone compared the Five FitzGerald Editions choosing only their idea of the best rhythms, the loveliest images, the deepest meanings, limiting their quest to FitzGerald himself, using only his verses, his words, and his punctuation? But me? I wasn’t a poet, not even a writer, not even a scholar.

Over a period of many years, balancing her editorial work on Fitzgerald’s poem with raising a family of three small children and relocation of her husband and family to the South Pacific in 1975, she would lay out all five editions of the Rubáiyát on the carpet or floor and, stanza by stanza, line by line, word by word, reassemble Fitzgerald’s Rubáiyát into a single perfect form.  She describes her trials and tribulations, her frustrations over many years in making her choices and selections, finally completing her work in 1979. Meanwhile, her mother (Margery O. Erickson) transformed  Mactaggart’s final edition and the chosen introductions for her book into a calligraphic text with beautiful floral designs and embellishments on the pages.  CEM’s final decision before publishing her book was choice of illustrations.  Mactaggart thought to herself:  “If I can select the finest passages and words from Fitzgerald’s five editions, why can’t I select the finest illustrations from prior publications (after obtaining proper copyright permission, of course)?” Mactaggart then chose what she felt were the most idiomatic illustrations from the two most famous illustrated limited editions, those of Edmund Dulac and Willy Pogany mentioned above.

What really makes all of this work, however, is that Mactaggart did not stop there.  After nearly a decade of work in creating her perfect amalgamation of Fitzgerald’s five editions of the Rubáiyát she then sought to publish it in her own beautiful private press edition.  She enlisted the aid and formidable skills of the Curwen Press proprietor Basil Harley who designed the book, chose beautiful hand made papers for the calligraphy and illustrations, and flawlessly reproduced Dulac’s and Pogany’s vintage images into faithful full page illustrations.   Sangorski & Sutcliffe (S&S) put the finishing touches on Mactaggert’s lengthy enterprise by housing text and illustrations in a sumptuous full leather binding for the deluxe editions.  It was published in a limited edition of 200 copies in 1980.  My personal copy has a maroon cloth binding by S&S and although it has a colophon which states the limitation of 200 copies it is unnumbered.  It may have been an hors de commerce copy which was not for sale.  Although I have never seen the copy with deluxe full leather binding it must be quite special because it sold for $1,600 in 1980.  To put this in historical perspective, the landmark edition of the Arion Press Moby Dick, which was published in 1979, sold for “only” $1,000. Mactaggart’s publication has two volumes: the major volume (Vol. 1) contains the introductions and Mactaggart’s final version of the Rubáiyát in a calligraphic text with full page Dulac and Pogany illustrations, carefully placed opposite the appropriate quatrains, and the smaller volume (Volume 2) contains CEM’s introduction and the six editions of the Rubáiyát placed side by side spanning verso to recto pages, all set in Monotype Dante. Here are pictures of this marvelous edition (with some Dulac samples; the Pogany samples follow further below):

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press,  Vol. One on L (calligraphic text & illustrations) ;                    Vol. Two on Right (Mactaggart introd. and comparisons)
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Vol. One on L (calligraphic text & illustrations) ; Vol. Two on Right (Mactaggart introd. and comparisons)
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Books in Slipcase
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Books in Slipcase
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám.  A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Macro of Vol 1 Spine
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Macro of Vol 1 Spine
Title Page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Title Page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Calligraphic floral design
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Calligraphic floral design
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample text page from Introduction
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample text page from Introduction
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Opening page, first quatrain
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Opening page, first quatrain
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample text page with calligraphy
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample text page with calligraphy
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample Dulac illustration #3
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample Dulac illustration #1
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press,  Sample text page with calligraphy #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample text page with calligraphy #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press,  Sample Dulac illustration #4
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample Dulac illustration #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Mactaggart acknowledgement  - verso page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Mactaggart acknowledgement – verso page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Mactaggart acknowledgement - recto page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Mactaggart acknowledgement – recto page
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Title Page - Volume Two
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Title Page – Volume Two
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample Text - Introduction by Cecile E. Mactaggart
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample Text – Introduction by Cecile E. Mactaggart
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Title page for comparison of six editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Title page for comparison of six editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of comparison between editions.
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of comparison between editions.
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of final verse - Mactaggart and first two FitzGerald editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of final verse – Mactaggart and first two FitzGerald editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of final verse - last three FitzGerald editions.
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. A Personal Selection From the Five Editions of Edward FitzGerald by Cecile E. Mactaggart, Curwen Press, Sample page of final verse – last three FitzGerald editions.

{Ed. Note: For those adventurous Books and Vines readers who wish to try their hand at crafting the perfect Rubáiyát from Fitzgerald’s five editions, go here, which puts the quatrains from each of the five editions side by side, enabling you to select the lines and quatrains of your choosing.}

IV.  The Good News and the Bad News

First, the bad news.  If you have your collector’s heart set upon obtaining one of the signed, limited editions illustrated by Vedder, Dulac or Pogany it will cost several thousand dollars in collectible (near-fine or fine) condition.  Worse, I have never seen another copy of Cecile Mactaggart’s wonderful achievement and private press edition for sale in the secondary market.  The good news??  All of these books have been issued in trade editions in a variety of bindings, types, papers, etc. in a wide range of prices.  Several of these trade editions were designed, printed letterpress and published by private presses and they are superior to the original signed, limited editions.  Once you have settled upon whose illustrations you want it takes little effort purchase a splendid copy in your price range.

My copy of the Rubáiyát illustrated by Willy Pogany is an example of this.  It is a trade (unsigned) edition issued several years later by George G. Harrap Ltd, the original publishers of Pogany’s signed limited edition. It was printed letterpress by R & E Clark of Edinburgh, Scotland and the illustrations are beautifully reproduced and tipped-in.  There are numerous decorative designs in black-and-white and black and gilt on many of the text pages as well (see photos below).  The binding is a polished calf by Riviere with elaborate gilt decoration on both covers and (especially) the book spine with elaborate floral gilt decoration along the dentelles.  The pastedowns and free end papers are hand marbled paper and all edges of the book block are gilt.  Sans Pogany’s signature, this book cost substantially less than one of the original books in the signed limited edition of 750 copies. Here are pictures of this edition (and you can see here for pictures of the original limited edition reviewed previously on Books and Vines):

(All pictures on Books and Vines are exclusively provided to highlight and visualize the work being reviewed.  A side benefit, hopefully, is encouraging healthy sales of fine press books for the publishers and fine retailers that specialize in these types of books (of which Books and Vines has no stake or financial interest). Please note that works photographed are copyrighted by the publisher, author and/or illustrator as indicated in the articles. Permission to use contents from these works for anything outside of fair use purposes must come directly from the copyright owner and no permission is granted or implied to use photo’s found on Books and Vines for any purpose that would infringe on the rights of the copyright owner.)

The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Spine and Cover
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Spine and Cover
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Macro of Spine
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Macro of Spine
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Cover  - Polished calf and gilt vintage binding
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Cover – Polished calf and gilt vintage binding
Title Page #1
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page #1
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., List of Illustrations
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., List of Illustrations
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page for First Edition
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page for First Edition
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Sample Illustration #1 - “Awake, my little ones."
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Sample Illustration #1 – “Awake, my little ones.”
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative devices for page one
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative devices for page one
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative Header #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative Header #2
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative page between 1st and 4th editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Decorative page between 1st and 4th editions
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page to Fourth Edition
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Title Page to Fourth Edition
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Macro of text and decorative device
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Macro of text and decorative device
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Sample Illustration #5 - "Into This Universe, and Why Not Knowing"
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Sample Illustration #2 – “Into This Universe, and Why Not Knowing”
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Colophon
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, George G. Harrap & Co Ltd., Colophon

2 thoughts on “Fine Press Editions of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Part I

Leave a Reply