Price: $950.00

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Very good

London: Melmoth & Co., 1904. Pirated edition containing the first appearance of 15 original Beardsley illustrations. Small 4to (8 1/2" x 6 3/4"). pp [1 - 10]; 11 - 75; [76 - 77]; [2 blank]. Collated and complete, but as usual, the plates are not in the order specified on list of illustrations. Limited edition; this copy number 238 of 250 copies printed on handmade paper. Beveled boards in light blue cloth with titles stamped in gilt on the spine. A very good copy with wear and minor loss of cloth at the spine extremities.

Salomé was Oscar Wilde's one act play retelling the biblical story of King Herod's stepdaughter Salomé, who asked for the head of Herod's prisoner, John the Baptist, on a silver platter in exchange for performing an erotic dance for her step-father. Salomé was attracted to John the Baptist, but was angered when he refused to kiss her.

LAID IN are 11 of the 16 original illustrations from the 1907 Bodley Head issue of Salomé including: Woman in the Moon (IV), The Peacock Skirt (V), A Platonic Lament (VIII), Enter Herodias (IX), The Eyes of Herod (X), The Stomach Dance (XI), The Toilette of Salomé I (XII), The Toilette of Salomé II (XIII), Dancer’s Reward (XIV), The Climax (XV) and Cul de Lampe (XVI). The plates are on a light woven paper with age toning along the margin edge, and signs along the left edge where the pages had been tipped into the 1907 Lane issue. Many of the plates show pencil markings following the contours of the drawings; there are light ink marks and smudges scattered on the recto and verso margins. “Woman in the Moon” has erasure marks and redrawing as well as contemporary measurements written in ink on the lower left margin. Overall, the condition of the plates is Very good.

This 1904 edition of Salomé was pirated by publisher Leonard Smithers; "Melmoth & Co." was one of Smithers' many publishing "front" companies.

This 1904 edition of Salomé was pirated by publisher Leonard Smithers; "Melmoth & Co." was one of Smithers' many publishing "front" companies. Smithers had been acquainted with Wilde since 1888, and began publishing for both Wilde and Beardsley once publisher John Lane dropped them following Wilde’s trial in 1895. Smithers went into bankruptcy in 1900, and started issuing pirated works soon after to keep out of debt. Since Smithers sold the copyright of Beardsley’s drawings for Salomé to John Lane (The Bodley Head), during his Bankruptcy proceedings, Lane was able to have the 1904 Melmoth & Co. run of Salome seized and suppressed (destroyed). Those copies that survived Lane’s purge (including this one) were the first edition (authorized or unauthorized) to contain 15 of the 16 original Beardsley illustrations since the Melmoth 1904 issue preceded the 1907 authorized edition of Salomé from John Lane that also contained Beardsley’s original illustrations.

Because the Melmoth issue of Salomé was seized and destroyed soon after publication, very few copies of this first issue survived and are quite scarce.

Mason 615



Categories: Ephemera, Illustrated, ART NOUVEAU, THEATER - DRAMA,

Edition: First

Publisher: London, Melmoth & Co.: 1904

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition: Very good

Size: Small 4to (8 1/2" x 6 3/4")

Seller ID: 3141

Keywords: Aubrey Beardsley Art Nouveau Theater Ephemera