A Scarce Book by the Etcher of Following Abraham Lincoln
Tantalus by Joseph Addison from The Spectator First Printed June 13th 1711 Now Etched and Published by Bernhardt Wall
Notes: In his introduction to this book, Wall explains that he had purchase an old two-volume set of The Spectator at a secondhand bookstore when he was a child. The tale printed here was a favorite of young Bernhardt. It is (supposedly) Addison's translation of a story about a man who, as a joke, was wrapped up like a mummy and then placed in bed between two beautiful naked women who teased him all night long.
Wall's illustrations for the story are cartoonish, not unlike the work for many of his postcards. But there are two other etchings near the front of the book of an entirely different character, dark, and moody. In one, a ghostly figure kneels on a grave and in another, a man tortured after death, tries to catch a fish in his teeth while his arms are restrained. Wall also includes portraits of Addison and Plato in this volume.
Published in an edition of 150 copies, this is number 10.
21 etched leaves, including eight text plates. The title page is dated 1925 and the copyright is dated 1926. Wall was a prolific designer of humorous postcards in the early twentieth century (some 5000 designs are attributed to him). Beginning in the 1920s, he began producing short books entirely comprised of etchings—both text and illustrations were engraved on copper plates and printed by Wall in his shop in Connecticut. The subjects were intensely personal and the illustrations were iconoclastic.
Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). Very good in paper-covered boards with a cloth spine. A sort of leather label is affixed around the spine at the top of the book. It is partially worn away, possible with loss of the title. Signed by Wall on the limitation page
Publication: New Preston, CT: Bernhardt Wall, 1925 (1926).
Item No: #14759