SHAKESPEARE, William; Léon GISCHIA, illustrator. ~ The Phoenix and the Turtle. [Paris: Imprimérie Union for Raoul Mortier, 17 February 1944.]
Folio (430 × 330 mm), pp. . Text in English, 5 woodcuts (3 full-page, and including a portrait of Shakespeare) printed in sanguine by Gischia. Uncut and loose in the original wrapper with printed spine, without slipcase. Minor discolouration to wrapper, very light internal foxing. A very good copy.
Number 10 of 250 copies. Shakespeare’s metaphysical poem on the theme of idealised and mystical love was first published in the Supplement to Robert Chester’s Love’s Martyr (1601). In it, the phoenix and the turtle dove are joined in eternal love and burn themselves alive.
A leading figure in the Nouvelle École de Paris, Léon Gischia continued to produce and exhibit avant-garde work throughout the German occupation, despite repeated denunciation for degeneracy. He also produced designs for the theatre, notably for the production in French of Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral at the théâtre du Vieux Colombier in 1945. Bland, History of Book Illustration, 321.