Carter, Frederick & Machen, Arthur ( Intro.) ~ The Dragon of the Alchemists : Together with ‘The Dragon of the Alchemists: A Portfolio of drawings by Frederick Carter engraved on wood by W. M. R. Quick: Forty signed proofs, hand-printed on Japanese Paper, in a wrapper of Italian hand-made paper’.
Elkin Mathews, London : 1926 ~ John Gawsworth, London : 1936
The First UK printing published by Elkin Mathews, London in 1926. The BOOK is in Very Good++ condition with the original black cloth-backed boards, grey paper to sides, and gilt titles to the spine. A little pushing and rubbing at the spine tips. Light bumping and rubbing to the edges and corners. One previous owner's penned details to the upper blank end-paper. Early easing of the front lower hinge. Toning to the text-block and page edges due to the quality of the paper stock used. The WRAPPER is complete and is in Very Good condition. Some loss at the corners and spine ends. The cover panels have become detached from the spine panel and one piece of the upper spine has become detached. The pieces however come together and present well in the removable Brodart archival cover. Some toning to the edges and the spine. The PORTFOLIO was published by John Gawsworth, London in 1936. The portfolio is in Very Good++ condition in printed brown/grey wrappers with the forty illustrations loosely inserted, as issued. Some light creasing and some short closed tears to the portfolio wrapper edges. Some light age related markings to the wrappers. The complete set of the 40 woodcut proofs on japon are each captioned, numbered, and signed by Frederick Carter in pencil. The illustrations are exactly the same as those appearing in the book. Some of the plates are a little creased at the edges and have some sporadic light spotting and toning to the edges. A very scarce copy of Carter's book of alchemical illustrations, with the rare large format portfolio which is one of only 25 such sets issued. Frederick Carter (1883-1967) started producing prints in 1908, and illustrated various books and periodicals between 1914 and 1937 including 'The Cafe Royal Cocktail Book'. 'The Dragon of the Alchemists' was first published by Elkin Mathews as a collection of esoteric essays elucidating the symbolic illustrations, accompanied by an Arthur Machen introduction: 'The only way of telling the truth is by means of the symbol: the part that is put for the whole; that whole which for our lips is ineffable. The world is a cypher. He does best who hints most closely at the secret message latent in the signs exhibited to us.' Frederick Carter became a mystic symbolist artist, involved with Aleister Crowley and worked on illustrations for D.H. Lawrence's 'Apocalypse'. He was also a friend of Austin Osmond Spare and helped with his theories of automatic drawing. From 1922 he taught etching at Liverpool School of Art and during the 1930's he abandoned printmaking for writing but continued to paint until the late 1950's. His work is in the collections of the British Museum and The V&A. As a friend of D. H. Lawrence, he sent the manuscript of 'The Dragon of the Alchemist's to Lawrence for his comments. (Horne p. 138). Complete portfolios such as this one are extremely scarce and rarely appear on the market.
CONDITION: Very Good++
JACKET: Very Good