The Faerie Queene
Author: Edmund Spenser
Illustrator: Agnes Miller Parker
SPENSER, Edmund. The Faerie Queene. Disposed into Twelve Bookes Fashioning XII Morall Vertues. With an Introduction by John Hayward. Decorations Drawn by John Austen and Illustrations Engraved in Wood by Anges Miller Parker. Oxford: The Limited Editions Club, 1953. 4to; Volume I: [xviii] 512pp; Volume II: [viii] [-512] 993pp. Pale green cloth decoratively stamped in gold. Illustrated endpapers; 19 full-page b&w illustrations by Agnes Miller Parker and numerous smaller decorations by John Austen. Fine copies of each volume in original pictorial dust jacket (small chips at spine ends – “D” in “EDMUND” affected on volume one; one tiny chip to rear panel of volume 1; spine panels sunned). Both volumes housed in the publisher’s original illustrated cardboard box (light sunning to label on rear panel, light wear around edges, minute scratching to label). Signed by the artist, Agnes Miller Parker, at the rear of the second volume.
First Miller Parker-illustrated edition, being limited to 1,500 numbered copies of which this is #1024. This edition of Edmund Spenser’s epic poem from the 1590’s was dubbed the ”Coronation” edition as it was shipped to subscribers the same month as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. John Austen was approached by The Limited Editions Club about designing a club edition of the poem, and he envisioned a large, two-volume edition with wood engravings made to resemble the tapestries of Elizabethan times. Beginning his work in 1939, the war halted his efforts, and he was unable to finish the illustrations before his death in 1948. Several years after the war had ended, efforts to publish this edition were renewed, and Agnes Miller Parker agreed to complete the work of her friend Austen, creating 19 full-page woodcut engravings for the edition that would accompany the many decorations Austen had already created. A lavish edition of this landmark English epic.