The Keramic Art of Japan [ Two Volumes ].
London & Liverpool: Printed for Subscribers by Henry Sotheran, 1875 . First Edition. Hardcovers. 2 Volumes. Elephant Folios, (12 inches x 16 inches),Vol. I: (ii) (viii) LXII, 62 (viii) (ii), plus 12 separate pages of lithographed plates, numerous illustrations etc. in text, Vol. II: comprises fifty-one full page plates (number I - LI, versos blank) with one accompanying unpaginated leaf of text per plate, + four leaves of text on "Marks and Monograms" with four accompanying four black and white plates at rear (a total of 204pp. in this volume thus). Contemporary full brown pebbled leather, with gilt title and borders to front board, and gilt titling and rules within compartments of raised bands on spine. Fine gilt tooling to edges and inside margin of boards. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt, rubricrated titlepage, headings, etc. Presentation copy from one of the author's, inscribed "George Roberts, Esq., / with James L. Bowes' / Kind Regards" on half title. A superb example of Victorian book design and production. This was the first major study in English of Japanese ceramic art, which attempted the then unique task of classifying all known varieties of the porcelain of Japan. The author, George Audsley, was a well-known architect and authority on the decorative arts, particularly those of Japan, as was Bowes, who went on to write a number of works on the subject. The great majority of plates in "The Keramic Art of Japan" are full colour chromolithographs (produced by the art-printers Firmin-Didot et Cie, of Paris) and show a quality - particularly in the reproduction of the gilt work - unrivalled in most quality art books today. It is truly not an overstatement to say that each of the plates is an artwork in itself. As always the title page bears the date 1875, whereas the Preface is dated 1879, presumably a reflection of the amount of time that it took to bring this magnificent work into print. The text begins with a general study of Japanese Art, then a specific essay on Japanese Ceramics, followed by essays on Hizen Wares, Satsuma Faience, Kioto Wares, Kaga Wares, and Owari Wares, followed by a list of examples, linking each type to a number of the plates. The second volume, as described previously, is effectively a "plates" volume, with specific examples of the works of the different schools. The boards are rubbed in places and there is a short (half inch) tear to the top rear hinge of Vol. II. The spine of Vol. II is also some what rumpled - probably the result of the book have lain flat for over a century (it is much too tall, wide and heavy to fit in an average bookcase). Internal hinges reinforced with cloth tape. Some tears and chipping to the blanks between the front endpaper and the half-title and at the end of each volume (these blanks appears are superfluous and of inferior quality paper, and it our surmise that they were merely intended to protect the sheets prior to binding and were meant to be discarded by the binder). Approx. six plates have a little light silverfish nibbling, either to the upper corner, or the blank verso. In no case does this effect the image itself. The text and plates are clean and free of foxing, and the bindings in remarkably good condition for books of this size and vintage. Over all a beautiful set of this exceptional work. Item #38883