WORKS OF GEORGE ROMNEY, ILLUSTRATED WITH 70 RICH PHOTOGRAVURES AND BEAUTIFULLY BOUND
(ROMNEY, George) WARD, Humphry and ROBERTS, William. Romney: A Biographical and Critical Essay, With a Catalogue Raisonné of His Works. London: Thos. Agnew & Sons, 1904. Two volumes. Large quarto, contemporary full red crushed morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spines and cover borders, blue morocco doublures, white watered silk free endpapers, top edges gilt, uncut. Housed in custom slipcases. $1200.
Limited first edition, number 136 of only 350 copies on Japanese paper, with 70 lush brown photogravures of Romney’s portraiture (66 full-page), beautifully bound and housed in matching slipcases.
In late 18th-century London, George Romney “became the most successful portraitist of the day apart from Reynolds and Gainsborough… he was at his best with portraits of young people, when his delicate color sense and graceful line were used to good effect” (Oxford Dictionary of Art). Romney was extremely popular with both English and American collectors in the early 20th century, when his works fetched huge sums, sparking the demand for this handsomely produced catalogue raisonné. Among the 70 rich photogravures are eight portraits and sketches of Romney’s muse, Emma Hart, later Lady Hamilton. Appended to Volume I and published here for the first time are verbatim transcripts of Romney’s diaries from 1776-1795, which author Ward purchased at auction in 1894, and whose staff spent several years “deciphering and transcribing— often almost illegible— hunting up references in hundreds of old books and newspapers, and carrying on a vast correspondence with the families of Romney’s sitters and the owners of his works.” Freitag 10878. Several brief annotations in Volume II.
Text and plates fine, outer front hinges just starting. A beautifully bound set in nearly fine condition.