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Three Things Signed by W.B. Yeats first edition 1929

Three Things Signed by W.B. Yeats first edition 1929



Three Things

London: Faber & Faber Limited, [1929] 


8vo., original stitched blue card wraps, printed in black, with an illustration by Gilbert Spencer to the upper cover; pp. [iv], with one additional drawing in full colour by Spencer to [p.1]; lightly toned and shelf-worn; pages a touch creased; very good to near-fine. 


First trade edition, signed by the poet. Surprisingly harder to find than the Limited Edition, which was published the same year. No. 18 in the Ariel Series. 


In 1927, Faber and Faber made the decision to publish a series of pamphlets by famous poets, each accompanied by an illustration by a popular artist of the day. Beginning with Yuletide in a Younger World by Thomas Hardy, the first series stretched over 38 issues, with a second series, comprising 8 pamphlets, issued in 1954. For Yeats’ enigmatic contribution, Gibert Spencer contributed the accompanying illustration, showing a couple standing on the shoreline, and a mother holding a child on the front cover. Spencer was primarily a landscape painter, but also produced portraits, and during the Second World War served as an official war artist. 


Intended for the Christmas market, the Ariel poems were the brain-child of Richard de la Mare, Faber’s first production director and son of the poet and writer Walter de la Mare, who personally chose all of the poems and artists. Both his father and T. S. Eliot, who was at the time director of the firm, produced newly-composed poems for the sequence, but it was for the artwork that the series ended up being most coveted, with established illustrators such as Eric Gill, McKnight Kauffer and Barnett Freedman contributing. Finely printed at the Curwen Press, the poems cemented the firm’s reputation both for poetry and fine publishing. 


Seldom found signed.

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