The Answer to the Lyre. Richard Bentley's Illustrations for Thomas Gray's Poems.

Philadelphia: Univ of Pennsylvania Press, (1990),

First Edition. large 8vo, cloth in dust jacket. 355pp. Univ of Pennsylvania Press, Item #26835

From the dust jacket: 'In 1753 Robert Dodsley published Designs by Mr. R. Bentley, for Six Poems by Mr. T. Gray. Sponsored by Horace Walpole, this luxurious quarto was the first major aesthetic expression of the Strawberry Hill circle and a landmark in English book illustrations. Kenneth Clark has called it "the most graceful monument to Gothic Rococo." Its witty interplay between illustration and text anticipated Blake, who studied it some thirty years later. Among its poems is Gray's famous Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard. Loftus Jestin offers a facsimile of Designs (out of print since 1786) and a full-length interdisciplinary study of the collaboration of Bentley, Gray, and Walpole that produced this extraordinary book. He shows the way poems and illustrations at once complement, compete with, and invigorate each other, and he examines Strawberry Hill, Walpole's house at Twickenham, where Bentley's genius flourished. Corners and fore-edge of boards bumped.

Price: $7.00

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