“THE LAND OF UNSUSPECTED TREASURES”: FIRST EDITION OF EDITH WHARTON’S ITALIAN BACKGROUNDS
WHARTON, Edith. Italian Backgrounds. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1905. Octavo, original green decorative cloth gilt, top edge gilt, uncut. $1500.
First edition of Wharton’s Italian travelogue, with photogravure frontispiece and 12 delicate architectural etchings by E.C. Peixotto, a lovely copy.
Although Wharton is best known as a novelist, her "European travels were the basis for her early published work" (ANB), and her contemporaries also knew her also as a perceptive essayist on issues of design. She advocated turning away from the Victorian love of ornament for ornament's sake and a "return to architectural principles." In Italian Backgrounds, which followed closely the publication of her Italian Villas and Their Gardens, she recounts her sojourn through Italy, taking special architectural note of cityscapes and country residences. Without scarce dust jacket. Garrison A11.1.a. Melish, 23-25.
A fine, bright and crisp copy.