Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman by Stefan Zweig
Stated First Edition Published by Cassell and Company, London in 1933
Unique “Cosway Style Binding” by Bayntun - Rivière
Binding Details: Stunning “Cosway Style” binding by Bayntun - Rivière in full pink morocco leather that features a fine hand-painted portrait miniature of Marie Antoinette on ivory under glass inlaid to the front cover that measures approximately 5.5 inches. The spine treatment consists of raised bands with elaborate gilt decorations, and titling. Both the front and rear covers are double gilt ruled with a fleur-de-lys decorative motif. There are elaborate gilt dentelles, floral gilt decorated pink morocco doublures, and white water-silk endpapers. The Bayntun-Riviere binders stamp appears in gold gilt on the bottom of the inside cover. All page edges are gold gilted. The book is housed in a functional cloth slipcase.
About Cosway Bindings
Cosway bindings (named for renowned 19th-century English miniaturist Richard Cosway) were first commissioned in the early 1900s by J.H. Stonehouse, managing director of London booksellers Sotheran & Company, from the famous Rivière bindery, who employed Miss C.B. Currie to faithfully imitate Cosway's detailed watercolor style of portraiture. These delicate miniature paintings, often on ivory, were set into the covers or doublures of richly-tooled bindings and protected by a thin pane of glass. Cosway bindings executed by other than the original collaborators (Stonehouse, Sotheran, Rivière, and Currie) are designated as "Cosway-style" bindings.
Book Details: This is a stated first edition of Stefan Zweig’s critically acclaimed “Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman” published by Cassell and Company, London in 1933. From the publisher, “Stefan Zweig based his biography of Marie Antoinette, who became the Queen of France at the age of fifteen, on the correspondence between her and her mother, and her great love the Count Axel von Fersen. Zweig analyzes the chemistry of a woman's soul from her intimate pleasures to her public suffering as a Queen under the weight of misfortune and history. Zweig describes Marie Antoinette in the King's bedroom, in the enchanted and extravagant world of the Trianon, and with her children. And in his account of 'The Revolution', he describes her resolve during the failed escape to Varennes, her imprisonment in the Conciergerie and her final tragic destiny under the guillotine. Zweig's account has been the definitive biography of Marie Antoinette since its publication.” The following are some of the reviews:
'Stefan Zweig's remarkable study of Marie Antoinette; A full-bodied biography which bids fair to be the definitive life of that tragic queen' - The New York Times
'The most influential biography of Marie Antoinette' - The Guardian
The book measures approximately 9” x 6” with 472 pages as well as a table of contents, list of illustrations, author’s preface, and index.
Condition Report: The binding is in FINE condition with some minor offsetting to the edges of the silk endpapers. Internally, the book is very clean with no bookplates or other signs of previous ownership. The functional slipcase has some very minor wear to the corner tips. Overall, this is a beautiful “Cosway Style” binding by Bayntun - Rivière that houses the first edition of a wonderful biography of one of the most famous women in history.
Photographs of the binding, a close-up of the miniature portrait, and the slipcase appear in the photo section of the listing.