Heritage Press: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1946)

May 12, 2011 § 10 Comments

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1946)
Sandglass Number Unknown
Artwork: Illustrations by Arthur Szyk
Translated by Edward Fitzgerald
Heritage Press Exclusive, originally printed in 1940

Click images for a larger view.

Front Binding – In 1940 the Heritage Press put out a lovely exclusive – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, utilizing the talents of Arthur Szyk to illustrate the volume.  This edition had Szyk’s work mounted directly to the pages, which sounds lovely.  This is the later 1946 edition, which merely reprints the art onto the page.  Still, this is a lovely book.  The book was designed by Ernest Inghan at Fanfare Press in London, England, and looks very classy with Szyk’s linework printed in blue on the off-white boards.  An eye-catcher, this one.

Title Page –Szyk drew his work in color and gold, which Sun Engraving of London engraved.  Apparently they did the same in the 1940 original.  The text is Monotype Sachsenwald with Albertus Capitals, set by Mr. Ingham.  Szyk is stunning as par the course – he did The Canterbury Tales (1946), The Book of Job, The Book of Ruth, The Story of Joseph and his Brothers (in the 1948 Evergreen Tales), The and The Arabian Nights Entertainments for the LEC, along with this and Ink and Blood (a very rare collection of his own work) for the Heritage Press.  The translation is the wildly popular Edward Fitzgerald one that seemingly was everywhere in this era – I’ve seen a Random House edition that was rather nice using the same Fitzgerald translation, for example.

Page 2 – Stunning stuff.

Page 6

Personal Notes – One of my more recent acquisitions, received on my last day of volunteering at my current employmentIt did come with a gold slipcase, but it was very ratty and split nearly in two – I didn’t really think it was necessary to keep it in such poor condition.  Glad to have a Szyk book at last!

I’m lacking some crucial stuff on this one – a Sandglass and any info within (and its number), comparisons to the 1940 printing, and other insights would be ideal.  Please let me know through the comments here or at my thread about this blog at the George Macy Devotees @ LibraryThing!  Thanks!

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§ 10 Responses to Heritage Press: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (1946)

  • Elizabeth Petersen says:

    Can you please tell me how much this book is worth? The one I have is in excellant condition.

    Thank you.

    Elizabeth Petersen

    • Wildcat-Lvl says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I am not a professional book dealer, so I’m afraid I can’t do that for you. Mine was free thanks to volunteering at a used book shop, so I can’t really offer any more advice than doing some research on it at ABE Books, Alibris, or some other retailer.

      PS – I removed your phone number from your comment to prevent it being spammed.

      • Kim Ledbetter says:

        I have that same exact copy in excellent condition as well as a smaller pocket (very old) leather bound edition. The smaller version was printed in Great Britain and the artwork is by Willy Pogany. There isn’t a date of publishing anywhere to be found. The leather is dry and peeling at the edges. Any insight on this copy would be helpful.

      • Wildcat-Lvl says:

        Hi Kim,

        As I told Elizabeth, I’m not a professional book dealer, so your best bet to find out info on the books you have is to do some online research yourself! Otherwise, you could always visit your local used/antiquarian book shop and see what they think. It is a lovely book, though – I hope you treasure it!

  • Washburn says:

    I heard that the 1940 has french folding on pages – (every page double sized but folded over).
    Is that the same with this 1946 edition ?
    Thanks

  • Washburn says:

    Thanks for the reply…
    I am the same person as Bookshrimp on the Library-Thing forum, btw (I wasn’t able to use the same Username as here as it was already taken).

    I have the 1940 HP edition of Rubaiyat coming in a few days…Will try to provide details as soon as I get it, so you can compare it to the 1946 edition…

  • Washburn says:

    I just got my 1940 HP edition of Rubaiyat !!!
    It’s gorgeous !
    I would say it’s in Very Good – Fine condition (no slip case or SG, but I wanted the 1940 edition – not bad for $29 shipped)

    Here are some differences that might interest you:

    # the Front board’s cover art is Gold – (gilt-like) on an off white yellow-ish background. Have to hold it at correct angle and light to see the gold-ish paint glittering.
    # Spine has the inscription in dark blue.
    # Title page has “1940” – rest is similar to 1947 i assume (I have never seen the 1947 one in person)
    # back of title page states “Printed and made in Great Britain”
    # Biggest things is – like you stated – zyk’s paintings are mounted directly to the pages – and you can see and feel the indentation made on each page for the drawings – as if the drawing lays on its own little bed.
    Pages are french fold – double size pages then folded back into the hinge/binding.

    Let me know if you have further questions – will do my best to answer them
    If you would like photos, I can take some and send them to you, if you’d like to post them here or on the Macy forum.
    -wash

  • Dave says:

    I’ve got the ’46 edition, in its boxed sleeve, with the Sandglass. It is Number: 1:36R. I believe I may be the first person to open the cover. It is flawless. I found it at a public library book sale. Would you believe $1.50?

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