London: George Bell & Sons, 1904. Oblong (6 1/2 by 9 1/4 inches), staple-bound in original illustrated gilt paper boards, red cloth spine. Owner inkstamp to corner blank flyleaf, very gentle wear and soiling to original decorated boards. Very good indeed. Item #1015
"INTO THY HANDS, O LORD, INTO THY HANDS" Illustrated souvenir of theater impresario Henry Irving's adaptation of Alfred Lord Tennyson's drama—in the original gilt illustrated paper boards. Regarded as one of the great figures of the Victorian stage, Henry Irving became, in 1895, the first actor to be awarded a British knighthood (a previously unthinkable honor). Written in 1884 (and first staged in 1893), Tennyson's play depicting the martyrdom of St. Thomas Becket, the twelfth century Archbishop of Canterbury, consisted of a Prologue and four Acts. This souvenir was printed with a cast list of the "Dramatis Personae / Tour - 1904" and a Synopsis of Scenery painted by Joseph Harker. The 12 black-and-white lithographed plates are a mixture of portraits and captioned scenes. In October 1905, Irving was on tour and appearing again as Becket when he suffered a stroke just after delivering the archbishop's dying words: "Into thy hands, O Lord, into thy hands." It is said that Irving lived for another hour or so but that he never spoke again. Rear board: "Printed at the Chiswick Press by Charles Whittingham and Co. / Tooks Court, Chancery Lane, London."