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Comus: A Maske Presented at Ludlow Castle Illustrated by...

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From limitation page: "This Edition is limited to 550 copies numbered and signed by the Artist, of which 400 are for sale in the United Kingdom, 100 for sale in the United States of America, and 50 for presentation. This is No. 514. Arthur Rackham". Folio 9 1/4" x 12" gift book design. Cream vellum spine wrap w/gilt titles, some rub. Front board features stylized gilt cover titles and several ogre-like creatures including donkey, goat, wolf and owl. Color frontispiece plate w/caption: "All amidst the Gardens fair, Of Hesperus, and his daughters three, That sing about the golden tree." Fine tissue guard w/printed caption. Thick, deckled pages near fine, clean. Gilt top edge w/some rub. Green pictorial endpapers with white silhouettes of four maidens bounding past tree and small satyr-like beings in pursuit. Bind good; hinges intact. Features two dozen tipped-in color plates on thick matte pages by the wondrous illustrator, Arthur Rackham - two more than first edition. Each plate beautifully rich with subdued colors and featuring Rackham at his most magically best; each with fine tissue guards with printed captions. Illustrations produced by the Hentschel Colour-Type Process. Additionally, includes full and partial page b&w imagery, headers, tailpieces, and decorative designs throughout. Rare near very good example of fine book craftsmanship. Full title of John Milton's Comus: "A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle 1634: on Michelmas night, before the right honorable John, Earl of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackley, Lord President of Wales, and one of His Majesty's most honorable privy council." Here, in John Milton's masque Comus, the god is described as the son of Bacchus and Circe, a post-classical invention. The tale concerns two brothers and their sister, simply called "the Lady", lost in a journey through the woods. When the Lady becomes fatigued, the brothers wander off in search of sustenance. While alone, she encounters the debauched Comus, a character inspired by the god of revelry, disguised as a villager who claims he will lead her to her brothers. Deceived by his amiable countenance, the Lady follows him, only to be captured, brought to his pleasure palace and victimised by his necromancy. Printed in Great Britain by The Cornwall Press, Ltd., Paris Garden, Stamford Street, London. Insured post. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall
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