"PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT LANDMARK IN DORÉ'S CAREER": HIS GREAT FOLIO BIBLE, WITH 192 FULL-PAGE WOOD-ENGRAVINGS, IN ORIGINAL PARTS
(DORÉ, Gustave). The Holy Bible. With About 200 Full-Page Illustrations by Gustave Doré. London and New York: Cassell, Petter and Galpin, circa 1889-1892. Forty-four parts. Folio (9-1/2 by 12 inches), original printed beige paper wrappers. Housed in two custom half morocco slipcases. $3200.
Later edition of Gustave Doré's great folio Bible, complete in 44 original parts, splendidly illustrated by him with 192 full-page wood-engravings.
"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 Doré'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… Its original reception was truly remarkable… 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). This is a later edition published by renowned religious publisher Cassell, Petter, and Galpin. Publishing in parts allowed for many copies of this work to be distributed worldwide, especially to missionary and colonial ex-patriot communities. For its recipients, it proved easier to store and handle than the large, unwieldy volumes of the book edition. It was also cheaper; bibliographer Malan notes the drastically reduced price and refers to it as the "cheap edition." However, while purchasers were undoubtedly thrilled to regularly receive new installments of Doré's illustrations, the fragile nature of the parts created a preservation challenge. Accordingly, Doré's Bible in parts is quite rare, especially complete. While the early editions are undated, they contained 238 plates; this edition contains 192 plates. With Family Register pages with wood-engraved borders. See Malan, 239; Herbert 1977. Pencil owner signatures and a few check marks on front wrappers. With Cassell's John Bunyan prospectus laid into the final part.
Light scattered foxing and soiling to interiors, a bit of soiling to wrappers, especially affecting Parts 1, 6, 36, 39, expected wear to extremities of oversize original wrappers especially Part 1. An extremely good copy.