KENT, Rockwell (1882-1971). Original set of proofs of the illustrations and decorations for the Lakeside Press edition of Melville's
Moby Dick, or The Whale (Chicago: R.E. Donnelly & Sons Co., The Lakeside Press, 1930). Massive, complete suite of 289 separate prints for Rockwell Kent's Moby-Dick, including nine not published in the edition. Moby Dick was unquestionably Kent's magnum opus, executed at the highpoint of his career. The book, designed by William A. Kittredge, printer at the Lakeside press, was the "most elaborate physical presentation which had been accorded to Moby-Dick up to this time and one of the finest examples of bookmaking to be found among all the editions of his works. Kent's illustrations are now perhaps the best known illustrations for Moby-Dick and are certainly among the most effective" (Tanselle). The three-volume Lakeside edition, of which 1,000 copies were printed, was one of the AIGA's "Fifty Books of the Year" for 1930 and was the only example of Kent's work chosen for inclusion in the 1961 exhibition at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Mr. Dan Burne Jones, author of The Prints of Rockwell Kent (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976) reports that a total of five sets of the Moby Dick illustrations were prepared. In one set, owned by the printer Kittredge, the prints were individually signed. The others, he believes, were sold in the 'forties, two at Hanzel Galleries in Chicago. See Eleanor M. Garvey, The Artist & The Book, 1860-1960 (Boston, 1961), no. 140; G. Thomas Tanselle, A Checklist of Editions of Moby-Dick, 1851-1976 (Chicago, 1976), no. 17. 289 photolithographed prints with wide margins, printed on heavy stock, various sizes, tipped into 148 mats which feature from one to four subjects each. Mats are 490 x 355mm. Includes full-page proofs of each of the three title-pages, 26 full or three-quarter page illustrations and 252 other vignettes, head- and tailpieces, as well as nine subjects not used in the final edition (mats disordered; count corresponds to manuscript inventory laid in). Housed in three custom solander cases with paper spine labels and pictorial cover labels. Provenance: The Brooklyn Public Library, purchased in July 1942 (sold at Christie's New York, May 14, 1985, lot 400) – Christie’s East, 24 May 1995, lot 146; acquired by the late owner at this sale.