One of those “Eyeballs of Bibliophiles … actually too precious to be read”
Frankfurter Allgemeine 1-26-08
Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot in
Fore-edge Painting Binding
Dostoyevsky, F(yodor) M(ikhaylovich). (The Idiot.) Novel. From the Russian into the German by E. K. Rahsin (= Elisabeth Kaerrick [Pernau, Livonia, 1886 – Munich 1966]). 19th/20th thousand. Munich, R. Piper & Co., 1920. 7⅝ × 4⅞ in (19.5 × 12.3 cm). XVIII, 1182 pp.
Ruby red crushed half morocco
with fascinatingly iridescent covers
of polychromatically marbled silver paper ,
blind fillet on cover , gilt back title
with gilt fillets , 7 gilt head leading edge fillets
as transition to gilt edges goffered at head & tail ,
under the gilt
in wood veneer case
with ruby red morocco edges at the slide-in
( R. Meuter )
India paper edition of the “second of the five great epic novels Dostoyevsky (Moscow 1821 – Petersburg 1880) has written, started in Geneva late 1867 and finished in Milan late 1868. The work thus ranks in the chronological sequence in intervals of about two years each between ‘Rodion Raskolnikov’ (Crime and Punishment) and the ‘Demons’” (Rahsin). With
as one of the female leading characters and in such a manner motif of the fore-edge painting :
The beautiful red-headed Aglaya in Petersburg costume
– loose skirt patterned blue-red-green , laced shoes with bow , in the hair green pearls , malachite necklace –
in full length with her hands folded coquettishly at her back
at the Petersburg Fontanka Canal
with line of houses on the other bank, behind which the onion domes of churches rise on both sides, the right of which reminding of the Cathedral of the Resurrection of Christ.
Invisible in closed state the image shows when fanning out the body of the book, here as one-image version to both sides, executed on the fore edge, whose subsequent gilding is “particularly difficult” (Löffler-Kirchner) due to its curve.
Occurring also double painting dependent on the side, while with triple painting one image is already visible in closed state. Generally such
unique edge decoration
– originally symbolic signs, later especially heraldic – dates back into the 10th century, to be extended to motifs of any kind by about the middle of the 18th century. The execution invisible in closed state, as here, dates back to 1649, the first dated example for this 1653 on a bible of 1651. The gilt edge on its part based on the Italian Renaissance bindings of the 15th century.
Here then one of these rare bibliophile treasures
in an example of our time . Marvelously pronounced related to the content on a piece of world literature , whose “ heroes … (are) pioneers of a new world : Dostoyevsky’s novel is the myth of the new man and his
birth from the fold of the Russian soul ”
(Stefan Zweig, Dostojewski, in Baumeister der Welt, Frankfort on the Main, 1966, page 99).
Offer no. 15,688 / EUR 1700. / export price EUR 1615. (c. US$ 1867.) + shipping