Chicago: (Stone & Kimball, 1894-95). Octavo. (22)ff. loose sheets. The four illustrations by Beardsley are printed on Japan vellum and fully embrace his Decadent style to depict the eeriness of Poe's tales, starkly contrasting with the eighteen other engravings, which adopt a more traditional mid-19th-century approach. Among these latter illustrations, which are printed on wove paper and first appeared in Albert Quantin's 1884 Les Histoires Extraordinaires, are a portrait of Poe himself and various scenes from Poe's works.
Issued with the deluxe editions of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, published in ten volumes by Stone and Kimball in 1895, the Beardsley prints and the Quantin illustrations were originally presented in separate parchment portfolios designed to match the bindings of the set by Frank Hazenplug. In his bibliography of the published work of Aubrey Beardsley, Mark Samuels Lasner notes that Beardsley's illustrations did not actually appear within the text itself, though he had been commissioned by Stone and Kimball to create eight drawings in connection with the set's publication. In fact, neither the Quantin nor the Beardsley prints can be found in the books. Instead, four Beardsley drawings went in a separate portfolio, alongside the Quantin portfolio, to accompany the large paper and Japan paper issues of The Works. Due to the fragility of the portfolio cases, they have now become exceedingly rare, with another Beardsley bibliographer, A. E. Gallatin, locating only six copies.
Our current copy appears to be a compilation of the Beardsley and 19th-century French illustrations, housed together in a single parchment portfolio. The case is original and boasts the stunning floral decoration over both covers designed by Hazenplug. Minor, if any, toning to sheets; portfolio foxed, with a split at the hinge of the fore-edge flap, else a near fine copy of a curious item. Item #30330
(Mark Samuels Lasner 80).