London, South Kensington
19 May 2009
PETER HENRY EMERSON
Marsh Leaves. London: David Nutt, 1895.
Quarto (288 x 185mm). 16 photogravures with original printed guards. (Text leaves with light spotting.) Publisher's white pictorial cloth, and sheep-leather spine, front cover blocked in black, spine in gilt (covers stained, spine and one corner rubbed and scuffed, endpapers browned).
FIRST EDITION. PRESENTATION COPY, WITH A COMPLIMENTS SLIP TIPPED-IN, in a contemporary, probably secretarial hand: 'With Mr. P.H. Emerson's compliments'. These studies of softly rendered details from nature are 'THE CULMINATION OF EMERSON'S ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT' (Grolier). 'Certainly, the 16 photo-etchings take his art to where it could probably go no further, and as a fusion of text and imagery the book is entirely successful... It is one of the most beautiful books about isolation and solitude, perhaps death, ever made, and Emerson's spare, evocative pictures were seldom equalled by the later Pictorialists' (The Photobook). Grolier, The Truthful Lens 54; The Photobook, vol. I, p.72.
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