(WILDE, O.). The Sphinx. (London, (etc.), Ballantyne Press/E. Mathews & J. Lane at the Bodley Head, 1894). (44) pp. (3 blank lvs. at each end of the book). W. 10 designs and decorations by Ch. Ricketts (9 of which full-p.), printed in red, green and black. Sm-4°. Or. pictorial vellum, gilt, designed by Ricketts, uncut. (Cover a bit age-toned, occasional light browning in various degrees, but a very good copy).First edition, one of 200 copies and considered to be one of Charles Ricketts's finest illustrative works. The Sphinx has been callled the quintessential book of the 1890's, a 'Baedeker of the exotic Orient'. A large portion of the edition was destroyed in a fire at the Ballantyne Press which made it one of the rarest of Wilde's and Ricketts's collaborations as well as the most exquisite. On the back of the binding at the bottom are the letters 'LSH' which stand for 'Leighton, Son & Hodge', the London bookbinder's firm who executed the binding. From the library of Emilie van Kerckhoff (1867-1960) and with her bookplate tipped in on a loosely inserted sheet of paper. - Mason 361.
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