The Sphinx. Decorated By Alastair (1920)
Book ID: 63401
The Sphinx. Illustrated and Decorated By Alastair. London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1920. First Edition Thus. Publisher’s white buckram pictorially stamped in gilt and turquoise with a design by Alastair, top edge in gilt, pages uncut. A nice bright copy.
Ten plates printed in black and turquoise, with descriptive tissue guards, plus two additional plates on the front and rear endpapers. Thirteen large decorative initials printed in black and turquoise. Published in a Limited Edition of 1000 Copies. (The only edition issued as the stones from which the plates were printed were destroyed in Belgium during the First World War).
Alastair, a pseudonym for Hans Henning Voight (1887-1969), specialized in illustrating the plays, novels and short stories from his favourite period, the 1890s. His most celebrated author was Oscar Wilde, but he also illustrated the classic 18th century erotic novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos. He was first published by John Lane, who had also published Beardsley and Oscar Wilde, and also produced many portrait drawings of contemporary personalities, among them Sarah Bernhardt, Eleonora Duse and Polaire. Although his style of drawing bears a marked resemblance to Beardsley’s, it remains unmistakably original and personal. His strange beings with their ornate decorations mirror his love of the theatrical and the occult.