16 ORIGINAL SIGNED DRAWINGS BY EARLE WINSLOW FOR ROBBINS’ JOURNAL, WITH A FINE COPY OF THE SIGNED LIMITED EDITION IN WHICH THEY APPEARED
(WINSLOW, Earle B.) ROBBINS, Archibald. Robbins’ Journal: Comprising an Account of the Loss of the Brig Commerce of Hartford (Con.) James Riley, Master, upon the Western Coast of Africa, August 28th, 1815; also of the Slavery and Sufferings of the Author and the Rest of the Crew, upon the Desert of Zahara, in the Years 1815, 1816, 1817, with Accounts of the Manners and Customs of the Wandering Arabs. WITH: 16 signed original pen-and-ink drawings for the book by Earle B. Winslow. Greenwich, Connecticut: Condé Nast Press, 1931. 12 items, altogether. Tall octavo, original full debossed cream calf gilt, all edges gilt, original glassine wrapper, original cloth slipcase; 16 original pen-and-ink drawings matted (the six vignettes matted together; largest matt size 14-1/2 by 19 inches). Housed in matching custom clamshell boxes. $5800.
Signed limited edition, number 189 of only 355 copies, of this harrowing account of the shipwrecked brig Commerce in 1815, signed by illustrator Earle B. Winslow, together with 16 original pen-and-ink drawings made by Winslow for the book (ten large full-page drawings and six chapter vignettes).
“When the American brig Commerce ran aground on the coast of northwest Africa in 1815, Captain James Riley and his crew knew enough to be terrified. Accounts written by other mariners shipwrecked along the same coast chronicled brutal enslavement at the hands of ruthless desert nomads. A few reports suggested that the natives were cannibals. Rather than test the validity of those claims, the sailors quickly set back to sea in a longboat. Nine days later, plagued by thirst and suffering from exposure, they had no chance but to return to shore. Soon after, the crew was captured by Bedouins and forced to march across the Sahara for days with little food or water… Eventually Riley convinced a desert trader to purchase himself and four members of his crew… [so that] they could be ransomed and returned home… When Riley finally reached safety in 1817, he published his ordeal as Sufferings in Africa” (Mark Kirby). This is the same terrifying story, recounted by one of the four surviving members of Riley’s crew, Archibald Robbins, and published the same year under the title Robbins’ Journal. Both accounts were international bestsellers upon their appearance, and Riley and Robbins became national heroes. Abraham Lincoln counted Riley’s Sufferings as one of the six most influential books that he had read in his youth (he actually referred to it often during his presidency). The illustrator of this limited re-publication of Robbins’ Journal, Earle B. Winslow studied at New York’s Art Students League with George Bellows and John Sloan. In 1929, he established his own commercial art studio, and produced advertisements for Exide batteries for which he won an Art directors Award. “Winslow was a member of the Society of Illustrators, the Artists Guild, the Art Directors Club of New York, and the Salmagundi Club, and produced illustrations for The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Home Companion, Liberty, and Outdoor Life… In 1948, Winslow became an instructor at Pratt Institute, and at various other visual arts and cartoon schools” (Smithsonian Institution).
Original drawings and book fine, chipping to spine panel of original glassine wrapper, light shelf-wear to original slipcase. A splendid combination of a fine limited edition with 16 of its original drawings.