WITH LOVELY FOLIO CHROMOLITHOGRAPHS OF ARABIC ORNAMENTATION
PRISSE D'AVENNES, Emile. La Décoration Arabe. Paris: J. Savoy et Cie., 1885. Folio (12 by 16 inches), modern half red calf gilt, raised bands, black calf spine label. $4500.
First edition of this beautifully illustrated survey of Arabic decoration, with 98 plates (numbered 1-110, 12 being double-page), 87 of which are chromolithographs printed in vivid color, attractively bound.
A lovely series of plates of Arabic ornament, almost all printed in vivid colors, featuring images of wall decorations, mosaics, carpets, glass, manuscript ornamentation and others, including a few views of entire rooms. "Few 19th-century Orientalists possessed so prodigious an intellect, such a trove of talents, so insatiable a curiosity or so passionate a commitment to record the historical and artistic patrimony of ancient Egypt and medieval Islam as Emile Prisse d'Avennes. Prisse succeeded brilliantly, yet he failed to achieve the stature to which his successes entitled him. He remains, as arts writer Briony Llewellyn calls him, 'a shadowy figure in the history both of Egyptology and of European response to Islamic art" (Mary Norton). These images originally appeared in the scarce 1877 four-volume L'Art Arabe, also by Prisse D'Avennes, which included a total of 234 plates. Text in French. Not in Atabey or Blackmer.
Plates fine and vivid, some plates expertly reinforced at the stubs. A beautiful volume.