KESSLER (Harry Graf). ROTONCHAMP (Jean de, aka Louis Brouillon). GILL (Eric). ~ Paul Gauguin 1848-1903.
Elaborate title-page with lettering cut in wood by Eric Gill, title vignette by Jacques Beltrand after a sculpture by Gauguin, printed in brown ink. Portrait etching of Gauguin after a self-portrait by the artist, 7 etchings of works by Gauguin, all with the original patterned tissue guards printed with the titles of the works. One of 250 copies (this no.106) of a total edition of 300. Sm. 4to., marbled boards with lettering in manuscript apparently in Eric Gill’s hand on upper cover and spine. Cracking to joints but still a strong copy, top edge blue, a very good copy.
The important first essay on the life and work of Paul Gauguin, demonstrating Count Harry Kessler’s championship of Impressionism and Post-impressionism. This work also has great importance iin the history of book design being an important collaboration between Count Harry Kessler and Eric Gill and forming a prelude in design terms to the first publication of The Cranach Press. It shows important stylistic similarities with an apparent awareness of importance of form and with a well-balanced, spacious appearance.
An intriguing copy as the book is usually described as being in wrappers with “GAUGUIN” lettered by Eric Gill printed on the upper cover slightly left of centre. Here we have boards, not wrappers, and the same lettering in an accomplished manuscript hand again slightly left of centre. The lettering on the spine is again in manuscript but different from the wrappered version as the word Gauguin is straight across rather than down the spine. It seems fair to suppose that this is manuscript lettering by Eric Gill and perhaps a prototype for the binding.