“A NOTABLE ACCOMPLISHMENT” (RAY): MOORE’S IRISH MELODIES, RICHLY ILLUSTRATED BY DANIEL MACLISE AND BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
MOORE, Thomas. Moore's Irish Melodies. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846. Quarto, late 19th-century full dark green morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated boards and spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt and gauffered. $1700.
First illustrated edition of Moore’s Irish poems, richly illustrated with borders and illustrations by his friend Daniel Maclise on every page, very handsomely bound in full morocco-gilt by David Bryce.
"Maclise labored hard to make this book a worthy tribute to Tom Moore, whom he loved and revered, inventing decorative borders for every page in addition to his abundant illustrations, and even doing some of the preliminary etching himself. The gratified poet wrote of the volume's 'national character,' an 'Irish pencil' having 'lent its aid to an Irish pen' (p. iv). Yet the book is totally unpolitical. It is a landmark, instead, in the history of style. By his treatment of illustration and text as a unit and by his infinite elaboration of detail, Maclise not only introduced to England the effects achieved by the German illustrators of the 1830s and early 1840s, but also anticipated the French Art Nouveau volumes that began with Grasset's Quatre Fils Aymon of 1883" (Ray). The Irish Melodies, based on the airs recorded by Edward Bunting, was first issued in two volumes in 1808 and ran to an additional eight volumes up to 1834; the first edition of Moore's lyrics, without the music, appeared in 1821. Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England 29. Lowndes, 1598. Early gift inscription.
Faint shallow dampstaining to rear leaves, not affecting text or images. Binding lovely and fine.