11 October 2002
FLEMING, Ian. From Russia, with Love. London: Jonathan Cape, 1957.
8o. Original black boards, decorated in silver and red; pictorial dust jacket after a design of Ian Fleming and Richard Chopping (darkening to spine panel, light rubbing to ends of spine panel and edges). Provenance: Richard Chopping (presentation inscription, owner's name on front flap of dust jacket).
[With]: 3 typed letters signed ("Ian Fleming") to Chopping, August-September 1956, related to the design of the dust jacket, including a rough sketch of the cover design by Chopping, and a later dust jacket.
FIRST EDITION, of the first Bond novel with a dust-jacket designed by Richard Chopping. PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY FLEMING TO RICHARD CHOPPING on the front free endpaper : "To Dickie Chopping 'The Executioner' from Ian."
Fleming's wife Ann introduced him to Chopping, then a young master of tromp-l'oeil paintings. The two men worked closely on the design of the dust jacket, with Fleming walking Chopping through every detail of his conception for the finished design.
Fleming wrote: "My idea is that we should forget about a complicated background and lettering and simply depict the gun crossed with the dewy rosebud... This would greatly simplify your task and, at the same time, it would prevent the lettering from interfering with the central vignette in your unique manner..." (Aug. 30th, 1956). "I shall look forward to seeing you at 10:30 on Friday morning and, by that time, I shall have the gun - a really beautiful object..." (Sept. 4th, 1956). "It was very nice to see you this morning and to find that you share my enthusiasm for the picture... Again with very many thanks for all the interest you are taking in this rather tricky business. Of one thing I am certain. Your picture will vastly help to sell the book." (Sept. 7th 1956).
Fleming and Chopping went on to have a warm and profitable relationship. After From Russia with Love, Chopping designed--under Fleming's careful supervision--the jackets for virtually all the of the British editions of Fleming's Bond books. AN IMPORTANT ASSOCIATION.
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