"the greatest illustrated book ever done in America"; First edition of Moby Dick or The Whale; one of only 1000 copies illustrated by Rockwell Kent
Moby Dick or The Whale.
Mellville, Herman. Illustrated by Rockwell Kent.$9,500.00
Item Number: 95291
Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1930.
First edition of one of the greatest 20th century American illustrated books. Quartos, 3 volumes bound in the publisher’s original black cloth with gilt titles and tooling to the spine, top edge black. One of only 1000 copies with 280 illustrations by Rockwell Kent. Fine in the rare original aluminum slipcase which is in fine condition.
Rockwell Kent was approached in 1926 by R.R. Donnelly & Sons to illustrate an American classic for their Lakeside Press series of illustrated books. Donnelly suggested Richard Henry Dana's Two Years before the Mast, but Kent chose instead Moby Dick. The edition was an immediate success and one of the most successful projects of Kent's career. To prepare himself for the project, Kent visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts and read most of the classics in whaling literature. In 1929, Kent accepted an invitation to join a crew sailing a small boat to Greenland. He and his two companions barely survived the voyage, and it came to serve as the source for much of the present volume's inspiration. Upon publication of the work in 1930, William Kittredge, the Director of Design and Typography at Lakesude Press, in a letter to Kent wrote "We will all go jump in the lake if this book is not the greatest illustrated book ever done in America".