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“PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT LANDMARK IN DORÉ’S CAREER”: HIS GREAT FOLIO BIBLE, WITH 238 FULL-PAGE WOOD-ENGRAVINGS, BEAUTIFUL LARGE FORMAT COPY IN FULL CONTEMPORARY MOROCCO-GILT
(DORÉ, Gustave). The Holy Bible. With Illustrations by Gustave Doré. London and New York: Cassell, Petter and Galpin, circa 1867. Two volumes. Thick folio (12 by 15 inches), contemporary full crimson pebbled morocco, gilt-decorated covers, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt.
One of the earliest editions in English (all undated) of Gustave Doré’s great folio Bible, splendidly illustrated by him with 238 full-page wood-engravings and beautifully bound in contemporary full morocco-gilt. A fine copy.
“In the 1870s, The Doré Bible was perhaps the most treasured (and expensive) book in the world” (Malan, 81). Certainly, it proved a milestone in the artist’s career. “Whereas he had to hawk round to publishers his drawings for the Rabelais [part of his intended series of volumes illustrating the masterpieces of literature], only to see them ruined by the cheap-jack who eventually took them on, the Bible was enthusiastically sponsored by one of the greatest French publishers of illustrated books of the day, Mame of Tours… Looking through these illustrations today it is impossible to recapture the positive furor of enthusiasm with which they were received on their first appearance… A second edition of the Bible was called for almost at once… Editions appeared in almost every European country… One of the first off the mark was an English edition from Cassell, Petter and Galpin, 1867. This caused an even greater sensation than the French edition, and the demand among collectors for any and everything by Doré was clamorous” (Muir, 224). Because of the demand, a number of editions in English saw print between 1867 and 1903 in a variety of formats, none of which were dated on the title page. This set is among the earliest editions, containing 238 plates (later editions had only 205) and in the large format of 12 by 15 inches. With Apocrypha. With separate title pages for Apocrypha and New Testament. This set is among the earliest editions, in that it contains 238 plates (later editions had only 205) and is in the large format of 12 by 15 inches. With separate title pages for Apocrypha and New Testament. Six pages preceding New Testament with wood-engraved borders providing space for Family Register, Births, Marriages, and Deaths, left blank. Malan, 239. Herbert 1977.
Text and plates clean, with none of the foxing often found. A splendidly bound and illustrated Bible in fine condition.