New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1894. 4to [29.5 by 23.5 cm], contemporary green three-quarter morocco with marbled sides; rebacked spine with five raised bands, dated and lettered in gilt; marbled endpapers; top page edges gilt; other page edges untrimmed. Magnificent engraved frontispiece portrait of A.B. Durand by Alfred Jones, with printed tissue guard; ix, (3), 232 pages; engraved dedication portrait by John Durand with tissue guard; 14 additional engraved illustrations with printed tissue guards throughout, including two of bank note vignettes as well as various portraits, landscapes, etc.; limitation slip and errata slip tipped in. Binding rubbed at extremities, with moderate wear; has been professionally rebacked, with the original spine laid on. Contents near fine. Item #6061
One of only 100 copies printed on large paper, though so many have been disassembled over the years for the plates that intact copies are infrequently encountered. Asher B. Durand was among the finest American engravers of the 19th century, and the plates in this volume, some of them reproduced through the “Goupil Gravure” process of copper-plate etching for photomechanical reproduction, testify to the skill of the artist: his portrait of John Trumbull is of the highest quality, and the later landscapes from the Adirondacks (that made him the nation’s foremost proponent of the Hudson River Style) are exceptional. Even the finest engravers often had to turn their skills to more practical matters, however, and Durand is well-known in numismatic circles today for his work in bank note engraving. Two of the plates present in this volume depict three bank note vignettes apiece. Durand is also famous in philately for having engraved the iconic portrait of Benjamin Franklin used on the 1847 5¢ issue (Scott 1). The breathtaking illustrations produced for this important biography of this American artist (written by his son) have made it a celebrated volume in a number of areas of collecting. We sold a copy of the regular edition in a recent sale for $660 including the premium; this may be the first time we have offered a large-paper copy. The binding is signed (with a diminutive ink stamp) as the work of R.W. Smith.