February 19, 1933
The constant appeal of the Arthurian legends forms the basis for an interesting collection of books to be shown in the Library Gallery of the Brooklyn Museum from the 19th to the 27th of this month. Belonging to Mrs. William P. Earle, Jr, the selection shown includes finely printed editions as well as those enhanced by illustrations from the pens and brushes of famous illustrators.
Mrs. Earle who is a well known resident of Brooklyn and prominent in social and philanthropic circles cherished from her school days an intense interest in the legends of the romantic Arthur and the tales of the Holy Grail and for several years has devoted herself to this collection.
The majority of the volumes date from the time of Tennyson and his great poems which did so much to popularize these legends. An interesting item in the group, however, is the second edition of John Dryden's, "King Arthur" published in London in the year 1695. The quaint beauty of this old book is rivalled by the fine press work of some of the later editions notably one designed by Bruce Rogers and shown at the Grolier Clubs exhibition of fine books. There is also a copy of the first American edition of the Tennyson "Holy Grail” bearing the book-plate of Edmund C. Stedman. A rarity of considerable interest is Hather T Arnolds' "Empodecles on Etna” recalled directly after publication with less than fifty copies in circulation.
Many are the individuals who have been prompted to try their hand at interpretations of these beloved legends. Ralph Adams Cram entitled his essay “Excalibur” and in the beautifully printed copy shown in this exhibition is his inscription to Julia Marlowe and the book plate of Julia Marlowe and E. H. Sothern adorns the flyleaf. Even Thomas Hardy turned his talents to this material and furthermore adorns his “Tragedy of the Queen of Cornwall” with one of his own charming pen drawings.
This exhibition will have an appeal for all lovers of fine books as Hell as those innumerable lovers of the Legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1916 - 1930. 01-03_1933, 019. View Original