Salome: A tragedy in One Act. First Edition (1894)

Author: Oscar Wilde

Book ID: 64701

Price: 2,850.00

Salome: A tragedy in One Act. Translated from the French of Oscar Wilde. Pictured by Aubrey Beardsley. London: Elkin Mathews & John Lane, 1894. First Edition. Pp 67, [15].  Frontispiece, title and list of plates within wide illustrated border, nine plates, and tailpiece, all after Beardsley. Rebound in half calf, cloth boards, spine in six compartments, with gilt rose in five, and title in sixth. Hinges worn, wear to tail of spine. Neat ownership name to title page (dated May, 1894). Contents in very good condition. Housed in collector’s solander box.  [Mason 350].

One of 500 copies printed. With the publisher’s catalogue dated January 1894.

First published in French the previous year, this edition was the first to feature Beardsley’s striking illustrations. However, some of his designs were withheld from publication and not issued until 1907. Due to censorship problems the production of the play had its license withheld by the Lord Chamberlain on the grounds of its having introduced biblical characters. 

One of the most successful pairings of author and illustrator in print. Wilde is caricatured by Beardsley in a number of the plates, including the frontispiece ‘The Woman in the Moon’. Ellmann remarks that ‘it was perhaps under Wilde’s influence that Beardsley’s style became more satirical and sinister. He would say later that he had created Beardsley, and perhaps he had’ (Ellmann, p.290). In a letter dated March 1894 Wilde described Beardsley as ‘a very brilliant and wonderful artist… He has just illustrated my play of Salome for me… His drawings are quite wonderful’

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