WILDE, Oscar. The Sphinx. Illustrated and decorated by Alastair.


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London: John Lane, The Bodley Head. New York: John Lane Company, 1920. First edition. Quarto. pp. 36, [10 (tissue-guarded plates)]. Original cream buckram, cover decorated in and blue. Some light soiling.
Limited 1000 copies. With Denis Wheatley’s strange bookplate and his large label loosely inserted. Top edge gilt, others uncut.
Cover design Charles Ricketts. Spectacular plates and endpapers hand coloured by the pochoir process.
The plates were printed in Belgium at time of German invasion, and were destroyed - reprint therefore
not possible. Text is prefaced with a note by Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde’s lover, who arranged for
Wilde’s body to be re-interred in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris. Ross was to be buried with him.
‘Alastair’ was the pseudonym for Hans Henning Baron Vogt (1889-1969), a German self-taught artist,
composer, dancer, mime, poet, singer and translator.
His drawings, which are often decadent in spirit and have the look of Art Nouveau, are influenced
somewhat by the drawings of the English artist Aubrey Beardsley. Many of his drawings were inspired by the poems of Wilde, and in 1922 Alastair would illustrate a book of Wilde’s play Salome. Provenance: Dennis Yeats Wheatley was a British writer whose prolific output of thrillers and occult novels made him one of the world’s best-selling authors from the 1930s through to the 1960s. His Gregory Sallust series was one of the main inspirations for Ian Fleming’s James Bond stories.


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