[Item #57175] The First of May: A Fairy Masque [SIGNED]. Walter CRANE, John Wise.

The First of May: A Fairy Masque [SIGNED]

London: Henry Sotheran & Co., 1881. Limited Edition. No. 88 of 200 copies on India paper, signed by the artist. Large folio (62cm) with loose prints, as issued. Brown cloth-covered portfolio, gilt-tooled, with paper onlay to front; yellow burnished endpaper; protective brown paper wrapper with remnants of wax seals; 57 photogravure proofs on India paper, laid down on large sheets of art paper, numbered I-LVI with additional limitation sheet. Signed by Crane in pencil on limitation sheet. Photogravure by Goupil & Co. Portfolio whole but rubbed, silk ribbon ties lacking; sheets rubbed at edges, with minor foxing, not affecting proofs: overall Very Good, with image area generally Fine.

Set of the first proofs of Crane's work, with calligraphic text inside decorated and illustrated border panels, dedicated to Charles Darwin. Crane executed both the calligraphy and illustration himself, believing strongly in the importance of unity of design. Though he was an active Socialist from the early 1880s, this work treats May Day as the traditional celebration of spring; May 1 was not chosen as the date for International Workers' Day until 1889. 200 copies of the first proofs and 300 copies of the second proofs were issued.

Price: $2,500.00

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