Wednesday, November 1, 2017

327. A Picture of The Picture of Dorian Gray

Some books by Oscar Wilde with designs by Charles Ricketts, or in case of the plays, by Charles Shannon, are the darling of cameras. Photos of The Sphinx have not been scarce since the 1960s, and the Internet has multiplied the number of images of this book. Of course, images of Salomé with designs by Aubrey Beardsley have far outnumbered them.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), designed by Charles Ricketts
Images of The Picture of Dorian Gray belong to my favourites. The almost empty spine with the title, author's name and flower decoration at the bottom end is as modern as it was in its days. Most copies show damage, or have a discoloured vellum spine. 

However, in their 7 November sale, The Library of an English Bibliophile Part VII, Sotheby's of London offer a pristine copy of this book.

What's more, a large part of the original dust-jacket is present. Copies like this one are of a great rarity. The estimate is c. £5.000-£7.000.

Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), designed by Charles Ricketts
This is a low estimate, as a similar copy - well, according to the images, this is probably the same copy - was sold for over $40.000 in 2014.