MORRIS, William (1834-1896). The Earthly Paradise, A Poem. London: F. S. Ellis, 1868-1870.
4 parts in three volumes, 8° (190 x 125mm). Advertisement leaves bound at end of first and third volumes. (Endpapers of vols I & II partially browned, very slight spotting to front endpapers of vol. III, some wear to hinges.) Uncut, in original green cloth, printed paper spine labels (vol. I with spine partially unstitched, labels darkened, occasional light rubbing to extremities). Provenance: purchased from James F. Drake, New York, 22 November 1939, $65. PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY MORRIS, on front endpaper of vol. I, 'W. M. Rossetti from his friend the Author 1868.', and again on front endpaper of the second volume, omitting the date. Contained together in two uniform green morocco gilt slipcases.
With, loosely inserted inside vol. I, ROSSETTI, Dante Gabriel (1828-1882). Autograph letter signed to Mrs Coronio, 16 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, Monday, on paper with Rossetti's letterhead, 1 page, 8vo. Rossetti writes to Aglaia Coronio to inform her that the 'Morris's are staying with me' and as 'M. is very hard at work', only he (Rossetti) and Mrs Morris will be joining her after dinner.
AN INSCRIBED PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of the Earthly Paradise given to William Michael Rossetti, with an autograph letter from his brother, Dante Gabriel. Written in verse, the Earthly Paradise was Morris's longest work, written over a period of years in the 1860s. The cycle of twenty-four stories represents the cultural interchange between a group of Norse exiles and their Greek hosts. The volumes and letter illustrate the links between this circle of literary figures. Known as one of 'The Three Graces', Aglaia Coronio was associated with Pre-Raphaelite circles, held close friendships with both Morris and Rossetti. William Michael Rossetti was a 'literary man and civil servant' whom Morris grew to consider 'pedestrian beyond belief' (MacCarthy p.322). (3)