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The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, Arion Press, Deluxe Limited Edition, 12 of 25



The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

Illustrated with by Nineteen Drawings by Sandow Birk

Introduction by Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s Grandson

Arion Press, 2018, Deluxe Signed Limited Edition, 12 of 25

Signed by Sandow Birk and Merlin Holland

MINT Condition – Still in the Publisher’s Original Packaging

This is a deluxe limited edition of “The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde” published by the Arion Press in 2018 with a limitation of 25 this being number 12. From the publisher, “Oscar Wilde (1854–1990) wrote his “fairy tales” in two installments at a pivotal point in his career. The Happy Prince and Other Tales, envisioned as a collection of children’s stories, was published in 1888, while Wilde was still serving as the editor of The Lady’s World, to all appearances happily married with children. The second collection, A House of Pomegranates, dedicated to his wife, Constance, was published in 1891. The Picture of Dorian Gray was published in the same year, marking a period of intense creativity for Wilde. ”

Accompanied by the drawings of artist Sandow Birk, whose images deftly extract messages from the stories and capture them in the light of modern-day, the Arion Press edition of The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde is an essential piece in the puzzle of the writer’s work. Birk’s artworks capture both the contradiction and the complexity of the stories, illuminating their timeless themes through imagery that bears a startling and immediate familiarity to today’s reader. The stark lines and style might at first trick an unsuspecting viewer into believing they do hail from Victorian times, but the content is very much of the now.

Wilde once explained, “My fairy tales … are an attempt to mirror modern life in a form remote from reality—to deal with modern problems in a mode that is ideal and not imitative.” He went on to add, “They are, of course, slight and fanciful, and written, not for children, but for childlike people from eighteen to eighty!”

The book measures 12.25” x 8.25” with 152 pages. The type is Bookman in Monotype and hand composition, ornamented with initial Phyllis capitals. Sandow Birk has created nineteen original drawings that have been reproduced by polymer plates. In addition to the frontispiece, “Love and Death,” each of the nine stories is depicted by both a full-page image and a smaller vignette. The type and artwork have been printed by letterpress on mouldmade Magnani 90gsm Raffaello.

The book was issued in a 225 copy standard edition and a 25 copy deluxe edition. This is one of the 25 deluxe copies being number 12. The deluxe edition sold out before publication and there are currently no available copies in the marketplace.

The standard edition has decorative initials printed in green ink. It is machine-sewn; bound with an olive green cloth spine and paper sides imprinted with titling and a foil stamped butterfly; and housed in a slipcase.

The 25 copy deluxe edition has decorative initials foil stamped in 22k gold. It is hand sewn with linen thread and silk headbands; bound in half olive green leather with cloth sides and gold titling; and housed in a slipcase. The deluxe edition is signed by Sandow Birk and Merlin Holland.

The book is in MINT condition and still in the publisher’s original packaging.

A composite stock photograph of the cloth version of the book and some illustrations contained in the book appear in the photo section of the listing.

About the Arion Press

Since its inception in 1974, the Arion Press has published 118 deluxe limited editions that are breathtaking in their scope and artistry. Combining notable literature illustrated with original artwork from prominent artists, Andrew Hoyem and his team at the Arion Press have carried on the tradition of the livre d’artiste in spectacular fashion. Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times put it best when he wrote, "The Arion Press produces some of the most beautiful limited-edition, hand printed books in the world."