Dalziel's Illustrated Arabian Nights' Entertainments

Various artists/makers

Not on view

Frontispiece, title page with illustration, printers' device on verso; preface; contents; list of illustrations; illustrated 1/2 title; pp. (2)-822 (420 leaves) including 210 prints (1 leaf of advertisements). Bound in boards covered with green textured cloth; embossed and gold-stamped with decorative borders and decorative elements around title on both covers; title and publisher gold-stamped on decorative spine. Gilt page edges.
This elaborate binding was commissioned by Dalziel Brothers for its lavishly illustrated 1865 edition of the Illustrated Arabian Nights' Entertainments. Green cloth was stamped with gold to create a pattern of sickle moons, stars, and leaves, and, on the book's spine, a winged genie emerging from a bottle. Generally, the design recalls elaborate bookbindings produced for the Persian court during the fifteenth and sixteen centuries, though those princely originals would have been made of leather, with the most elaborate ornament applied to their inside covers (doublures). The Dalziel binding, intended to attract middle-class readers, adopted the basic Persian form of a bordered panel with reserved corner fields, but its ornament was applied in a decidedly European manner. Elements were included for their symbolic and narrative significance as much as for their decorative appeal.

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