7 - 8 April 2004
BURTON, Richard Francis (1821-1890). Document signed ('Richard F. Burton'), also signed by Isabel Burton, 1 July 1885, articles of agreement with the printers Waterlow and Sons Ltd for the publication of Alf Laylah wa Laylah [The Arabian Nights], 3 pages, folio.
THE CONTRACT FOR THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, SIGNED BY BOTH RICHARD AND ISABEL BURTON. Its 10 clauses state the agreed limitation of 1028 copies for each of ten octavo volumes; the agreed quality of paper and 'black cloth gilt lettered' binding; the prohibition on the printing of additional copies 'without the written consent of the said Author,' and on the production of a cheap edition; a length of about 416 pages plus index for the first volume at a printing cost of about £200 -- other volumes to be charged pro rata; no charge for printer's errors except in the case of Arabic words; the first volume to be paid for within seven days of delivery, the remaining volumes before delivery; the first volume to be ready within six weeks from the receipt of the complete manuscript, subsequent volumes to be printed at the rate of one per month; the printers to be shown evidence of subscribers' orders before printing the first volume; the author and Isabel Burton to hold funds from subscribers in a 'Separate Account' at Coutts Banks. The success of the private printing of this and the subsequent Supplemental Nights, based on this unmistakeably clear contract, brought the Burtons the enormous profit of approximately £10,000.
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