ROSSETTI, Christina (author). Florence HARRISON (illustrator). The Poems of Christina Rossetti. London: Blackie and Son Limited, 1910.
Large thick 4to; original cream parchment elaborately blocked in gilt to spine and upper cover with an Art Nouveau design, top edge gilt, others uncut; pp. xxiv, 369, [iii]; printed throughout on handmade paper; illustrated and decorated in line, with 36 coloured plates mounted-at-large behind captioned guards; 34 black and white plates; circa 150 decorative head and tail pieces; mild mottling to upper board with small patch of bleaching; a thumb-sized closed crack to spine; light spotting to uncut edges; previous ownship name to ffep; silk ties now expertly replaced (as usual); internally fine and immaculate; scarce.
First edition de luxe; this no. 70 of a limited 350 numbered copies, signed by Florence Harrison.
Little is widely known about Harrison, except that she was an Art Nouveau and Pre-Raphaelite illustrator who specialised in poetry and children's books. However recent research by the british collector Mary Rosalind Jacobs shows her to be an Australian, and the daughter of a Naval Captain Norwood Harrison. Her first illustrations appeared in Rhymes and Reasons, a children's book, published by Blackie, the publishing house with whom she worked for most of her adult life. Nonetheless, it was not until this publication of Rossetti's poems in 1908 that she provided illustrations aimed at the adult market as part of Blackie's 'Fine Art' series. The success of the venture led to two more: Guinevere and other poems (Tennyson) and The Early poems of William Morris. Harrison also worked on her own series of poems. Entitled 'Elfin Song', these were published in 1912, to great success. Harrison's illustrations utilise common motifs across all genres of her work, and include butterflies, fairies, elves and storm laterns.
One of the most desireable publications of Rossetti's poems, rare in such condition.
(Mary Rosalind Jacobs)