New York: Random House, 1930. Kent, Rockwell. First Edition. Hardcover. First trade edition with Rockwell Kent illustrations, duodecimo size, 823 p., in original dust jacket. Fine / good +. Item #CNIK04
First trade edition of "Moby Dick" illustrated by Rockwell Kent, which became an instant success. The Lakeside Press published a limited edition in three volumes with 280 illustrations; this trade edition is in a smaller format and uses 272 of the illustrations.
Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) was an American painter and illustrator who bridged the artistic gap between Victorian and Modern art; when "Moby Dick" was published he was already well-known and his appeal has continued to grow throughout the 20th century, his work remains widely collected today. Interestingly, while Melville wrote "Moby Dick" in 1851, it was almost neglected until Kent elected to illustrate the story; his illustrated version had tremendous success and revived the novel for the 20th century.
___DESCRIPTION: Black cloth boards with silver letting on front and spine, both the front and spine also display Kent's own design of a whale, with the head on the front and the tail on the spine, cream endpapers, replete with Kent's black-and-white pen/brush and ink drawings which made him justly so famous; duodecimo size (7.25" by 5.5"), 822 pages plus a one-page Epilogue. The unclipped dust jacket mirrors the design on the front panel and on the spine, in black with cobalt blue highlights, and while it displays Kent's name on both front and spine, it does not display Melville's; the back panel of the dust jacket is a publisher's ad for other books illustrated by Kent (five titles), both flaps are blank, with no printed price.
___CONDITION: Near fine , the silver gilt on the front and spine bright and unrubbed to the extent that it fairly shimmers; with a square, strong text block and solid hinges, straight corners with a minimum of rubbing to the bottom corners only, and free of prior owner markings; the head and tail of the spine gently bumped with the head of the spine just beginning to fray the tiniest bit, a few spots of light soil to the top edge of the text block, and the aforementioned slight rubbing to the bottom corners; there is a vintage bookseller's ticket on the rear pastedown ("The Holliday Bookshop, 49 E. 49th St., New York") and a few light pencil markings on the top of the front pastedown (likely the bookseller's) with a price of $3.50. The unclipped (and unpriced) dust jacket just shy of very good, complete, the colours on the front panel are deep and true, the spine is sunned, light overall edgewear with a bit more at the head and tail of the spine which has creasing and some chips. Even with the dust jacket faults, still a lovely example of Kent's work at its best.
___CITATION: Rockwellkentiana, p. 62.
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