A SUMPTUOUS PRODUCTION, IN AN APPROPRIATELY ELABORATE BINDING, EMBELLISHED WITH LAVISH AND REMARKABLY WELL-EXECUTED DESIGNS, IN WHAT IS UNIVERSALLY CONSIDERED TO BE MACLISE’S FINEST ACHIEVEMENT IN BOOK ILLUSTRATION
MOORE, Thomas. Moore’s Irish Melodies. Illustrated by Daniel Maclise. London: Printed for Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, Paternoster-Row, 1846. Quarto. pp. iv, 280. Bound by Little Brown & Co. in contemporary full green morocco, covers framed by triple gilt fillets with inner Shamrock fleurons and a wide gilt Shamrock border; board-edges ruled in gilt; wide Shamrock gilt dentelles; green and pink marbled endpapers; green and gold endbands; red silk marker. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title and illustrator in gilt direct in the second and fourth, the remainder tooled with gilt Shamrocks. Original covers and spine bound in. Occasional mild spotting. Spine evenly faded. All edges gilt. A fine and attractive copy.
This new edition of Moore’s celebrated Irish Melodies appeared in 1846, and his artist friend Maclise endeavoured to make it a spectacular production, inventing decorative borders for all pages in addition to his numerous illustrations. The illustrious author of the Melodies gave eloquent expression to the delight he felt at seeing these records of his genius enshrined in lineaments as beautiful and imperishable as the songs themselves. It is a landmark in the history of style. “By his treatment of illustration and text as a unit and by his infinite elaboration of detail, Maclise not only introduced to England the effects achieved by the German illustrators of the 1830s and early 1840s, but also anticipated the French Art Nouveau volumes that began with Grasset’s Quatre Fils Aymon of 1883.” (Ray. Illustrator and the Book in England. No. 29.).
This is widely acknowledged to be Maclise’s finest achievement in book illustration.
Daniel Maclise (1806-1870), RA, a distinguished artist, was born in Cork and educated at a day school. From an early age he had a great talent to draw, and, after a spell in Newenham’s Bank he was allowed to study art at the Cork Academy. Later he opened a studio in Patrick Street, where he executed small portraits. His progress was rapid, and his first commission was to illustrate Crofton Croker’s ‘Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland’. In 1825 he sketched Sir Walter Scott in a bookshop in Cork and won praise for the portrait. By 1827 he had saved enough money to go to London, where he entered the Royal Academy and won gold and silver medals. He prospered in London, and became a life-long friend of Charles Dickens.