, , , , , , , , , , ,

From “The beginning of the world; twenty-five pictures by Edward Coley Burne-Jones” (British, 1833-1898). The unfinished designs were completed by Stephen Catterson-Smith (Irish, 1849-1912). Publisher: Longmans, Green & co. London. Printed by the Chiswick Press in black on white on hand-made paper with relevant extracts from the Book of Genesis. 1902.
Preface by Burne-Jones’s widow Georgiana: “The designs in this book were made for an illustrated edition of Mr. Mackail’s ‘Biblia Innocentium,’ * which was to have been produced by the Kelmscott Press and to have contained upwards of two hundred pictures. Many of these were begun, but none quite finished. The twenty-five designs here given were so far carried out that, with the help of Mr. Catterson-Smith, it has been possible to complete and reproduce them. It was he who, under my husband’s own eye, translated almost all the designs for the Kelmscott Chaucer from pencil into ink before they were engraved, and in so doing he learnt most intimately the manner and meaning of the artist. Accordingly, the conventions agreed upon for certain parts of the Chaucer drawings — as in sky, trees, and flowers — have been used here, and the colour tradition of black and white then taught has been followed. Where the pictures were finished, they have been exactly reproduced, and where, as in some parts, little more than a suggestion was given, the skill and sympathy of the pupil have understood it and made it visible to others. Any resulting incompletion of form and detail has been accepted as inevitable, but the spirit of the whole is rendered with extraordinary fidelity.”

* “Biblia Innocentium: being the story of God’s chosen people before the coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ upon Earth, written anew for children by J.W. Mackail.” John William Mackail (1859-1945). Published 1892 by the Kelmscott Press.