FROM THE LIBRARY OF JOHN BARRYMORE, ROTHENSTEIN’S MEN AND MEMORIES, WITH A BOLD SKETCH BY BARRYMORE
ROTHENSTEIN, William. Men and Memories. A History of the Arts 1872-1922. New York: Tudor, circa 1935. Thick octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $2800.
First single-volume edition of Rothenstein’s two-volume memoir, from the library of legendary theatrical patriarch John Barrymore, with his striking bookplate (of his own design) and featuring a bold caricature drawn by Barrymore on the front free endpaper, with his inscription “John Barrymore-Tower Rd” above the sketch and his initials “J.B.” beneath.
British painter William Rothenstein is best known for creating “one of the greatest series of contemporary portraits… in the history of art” (DNB)-many of which are seen here in this volume’s 96 illustrations, including images of Henry James, W.B. Yeats, Joseph Conrad, T.E. Lawrence and Einstein. This is the first single-volume work of Rothenstein’s memoirs to combine the two separately published editions of 1931-2. From the library of actor John Barrymore, legendary patriarch of America’s greatest acting family, “known for his exuberant temperament” and classic features that earned him the nickname “The Profile.” Within is Barrymore’s impressive bookplate, based on his own design, and his caricature of a Caliban-like figure, sketched by Barrymore on the front free endpaper. As a young man Barrymore had tried to “scorn his heritage in the theatre and hoped to become a painter… He had dreamed of bringing the world to his feet executing serious and even macabre masterpieces, in the style of Gustave Doré.” After studying in Paris and New York, Barrymore worked as a cartoonist for the New York Telegraph and an illustrator for Hearst editorials, but in time he “bowed to his destiny… [and] the theatre won” (New York Times). The flamboyant and often self-deprecating actor continued to make sketches throughout his life, often portraits of theatrical characters-such as this. Barrymore’s notation of “Tower Rd” above the sketch refers to his estate in Hollywood, purchased by him in 1927. Bookseller ticket.
Text fine, lightest edge-wear to near-fine book; some chipping, soiling to very good dust jacket.