Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cupid and Psyche

US$ 25000.00


An album containing forty-five wood engravings illustrating the story of Cupid and Psyche, after the designs of Burne-Jones. Printed by George Campfield on various colored papers, including the rare image of Psyche and the Opened Casket print on proofing paper. These images were created by Burne-Jones in the mid-1860s for a projected edition of The Earthly Paradise, to be produced by William Morris. Burne-Jones completed 70 drawings for Cupid and Psyche, and of these, forty-five were transferred to blocks and cut. The majority of the blocks were cut by Morris himself after he had observed the process on the first several blocks. In 1866, Morris had set at the Chiswick Press a few trial sheets of the text together with the wood engravings placed at the top as a frieze. Morris was unhappy with the typography, and the idea of an illustrated edition was abandoned. The Earthly Paradise was published in 1868 with a single Burne-Jones image on the title page. The Earthly Paradise and Love Is Enough were the first attempts by Morris and Burne-Jones to realize grand illustrated editions of Morris's poetry with Burne-Jones's illustrations in the manner of the folio printings of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and with the abandonment of both projects primarily over the lack of a suitable typeface, the two men's visions were not to come to fruition until twenty-five years later with the founding of the Kelmscott Press. Their early collaborations are in many ways the true precursors of the wonderful books produced at the Kelmscott Press. Shortly after the trial printing at Chiswick Press, the block for Psyche and the Opened Casket was lost or destroyed, and in 1956 Sydney Cockerell stated that he owned the only copy of the image. In 1881, Morris printed the remaining forty-four blocks on Michallet paper by rubbing. It is not known how many copies were printed, but the number must surely have been very small. Only two copies have been definitively identified, one at the Clark Library in Los Angeles and one at the Birmingham Art Gallery in the UK. In his essay in the Clover Hill edition, A.R. Duffy refers to a copy belonging to Lord Kennett that was inscribed by Morris in 1881. This copy may be in the Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK. Two additional printings of the suite were done in the nineteenth century: the set printed by George Campfield, foreman of painters at the Morris and Co., in 1887 as well as a set printed by Emery Walker in the early 1890s on Kelmscott paper. Of the later, Sydney Cockerell indicated that eight copies were printed. Thus, all of the nineteenth century editions are rare. This is the only copy of the Campfield printing that can be attributed. We know that Campfield printed a small number of copies, but no copies have ever surfaced. In addition, all of the nineteenth century printings were accompanied by the additional suite of the borders and initials that Morris and Burne-Jones created for Love Is Enough. This suite consists of eight borders, seven by Morris and one by Burne-Jones, and two initials by Morris. This projected edition of Love Is Enough was abandoned in 1871 for the same reasons that Cupid and Psyche was. Further, there is a proof, printed in red and black, of the membership card for the Democratic Federation designed by Morris. The prints are all in fine condition with the exception of the Opened Casket print, which has been skillfully backed. Each of the prints for Cupid and Psyche are numbered in pencil in the lower left margin, the numbers corresponding to the page of text in the first edition that the image illustrates. The proofs of Psyche and the Opened Casket and the Democratic Federation card are annotated in the lower margin in the same hand as that pictured in Plate LXII of the Morgan Library William Morris Catalogue of 1976. The annotated proof from the Morgan Catalogue belonged to Campfield, and it is reasonable to think that this set of Cupid and Psyche also belonged to Campfie.

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