MOORE, Thomas. Moore’s Irish Melodies. Illustrated by Daniel Maclise [MAGNIFICENT FULL MOROCCO BY BICKERS WITH STRIKING RED DOUBLURES]


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London: Longman, Brown, 1846. Full morocco, 10 1/2 inches tall. Bound by Bickers & Son of London in full crushed green morocco. Covers framed by a dog-tooth roll and triple gilt fillets, elaborate gilt panels to boards with outer fleurons. Spine divided into six panels by five gilt raised bands, title in gilt on red morocco label in the second, the remainder tooled in gilt to a centre-and-corner design; board edges ruled in gilt; wide gilt dentelles and striking bright red doublures with superb gilding incorporating olive onlays; moiré silk endpapers; blue, brown and gold double endbands.
All edges gilt. Light foxing. A splendid copy of this celebrated work.
Thomas Moore (1789-1852), poet, composer and prose writer was born in Dublin. Educated at Samuel
White’s Academy and T.C.D., from which he graduated B.A. in 1798. While at T.C.D. he formed a
close friendship with Robert Emmet on whose execution in 1803 he wrote: “Oh! Breathe Not His
Name”. He was a friend of Lord Byron, a strong advocate of Catholic Emancipation and supporter of
Daniel O’Connell.
Sloperton Cottage near Devizes, Wiltshsire, was Moore’s home from 1817 till his death in 1852: “That
dear home, that saving ark, where love’s true light at last I’ve found, cheering within when all grows
dark, and comfortless, and stormy around”.
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.
A 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. By his treatment of illustrations and text as a unit, and the
elaboration of detail, Maclise introduced into England the effects achieved by the German illustrators.
This is widely acknowledged to be Maclise’s finest book.
Between 1859 and 1864 he executed two large frescoes for the Houses of Parliament, ‘The Meeting of
Wellington and Blucher’ (for which he received £3,500) and ‘The Death of Nelson’. The National
Gallery of Ireland has two large paintings by him, ‘The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife’ and ‘Merry
Christmas in the Baron’s Hall’. His last great work was ‘The Earls of Desmond and Ormond’, which
appeared in the Academy exhibition of 1870. He refused a knighthood and the presidency of the Royal
Academy. After a lengthy illness he died at his house in Cheyne Walk in 1870, and is buried in Kensal
Green Cemetery.
Thomas Moore in the preface states: “I only add, that I deem it most fortunate for this new Edition that
the rich, imaginative powers of Mr. Maclise have been employed in its adornment; and that, to
complete its national character, an Irish pencil has lent its aid to an Irish pen in rendering due honour
and homage to our country’s ancient harp”.



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