New York: R.H. Russell, 1902. Small folio (11 1/8 inches tall), original decorated paper boards. Expert reinforcement to spine, lacking original ties, moderate toning, mild edge-wear. A near-fine copy. Item #1105
"MY BELOVED IS MINE, AND I AM HIS"
Limited edition of Edward Burne-Jones's illustrations for the Song of Songs—one of only 875 copies printed. This posthumous edition (Burne-Jones died in 1898) is illustrated with a black-and-white frontispiece ("The Bride of Lebanon") and five additional illustrations in pencil, all within a green floral border. Thought to have been composed around 1876, these sketches for the Song of Solomon were "a natural choice of biblical subject for Burne-Jones. Described by Burne-Jones in his work record as 'designs from the Song of Solomon—for painting on panel some day,' a sequence of five large penicl drawings has usually been associated with other designs of a vertical format....They are of exceptional precision and delicacy...in the artist's meticulous delight in elaborating the loops and swirls of the drapery clinging to even more elongated figures. The first four subjects are devoted to Solomon's expression of love, both spiritual and sensual, for his beloved, the Bride of Lebanon, whom he finally reveals to the world." (Stephen Wildman and John Christian).
Prefaced with a valuable Introduction by FitzRoy Carrington, a leading authority on prints. Carrington's remarks on the nature of the poem conclude with an appreciation of Burne-Jones: "No artist has shown so keen an appreciation of the peculiar beauties inherent in the pencil line, or has workedwith so great a measure of success with the somewhat narrow limitations imposed by the process as has Sir Edward Burne-Jones. These five drawings are unusually interesting....since in them the fine flower of his imagination is fully seen, finding expression through a medium over which his control is absolute" This is copy no. 740 of 875 copies on vellum paper, one of three limitations (totaling 1000 copies overall). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist Dreamer, 188-190.