Another oddly-shaped book

Posted on 9th August 2018 by simonbeattie

Last week, I mentioned the appeal of the oblong format.  (I once had an oblong 12mo in half-sheets, but that’s very nerdy…)  Here’s another which recently caught my eye:

We’ve catalogued it as ‘oblong slim folio’, as it measures 260 × 685 mm.  It’s a copy of the first edition of 16 tinted etchings of the frieze in the throne room of the Royal Palace in Dresden by the German artist Eduard Bendemann (1811–1889).  Two issues of the work are known, with the plates unfolded as here (hence the unusual shape of the book), and another with the etchings folded in half and mounted on stubs, resulting in what one might call an oblong quarto.

Bendemann was appointed professor at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1838, and soon received a commission to paint the halls in the royal palace there. In the throne room, he created huge frescos featuring rulers and legislators from Moses to Henry the Fowler (d.936), and showing how the human soul progresses from an original state of innocence, through its earthly life, to salvation and Paradise.

This copy has a nice early English provenance, too: Edward Nicholas Hurt (1795–1867) of Lincoln’s Inn.

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