Paris: Librairie de l'art indépendant. Londres: Elkin Mathews et John Lane, 1893.
First edition, one of 600. Title-page vignette (repeated on colophon and on front cover) by Felicien Rops. [On verso of half title:] Imprimerie Paul Schmidt, 20 rue du dragon, Paris. 1 vols. 8vo. Presented to Beerbohm Tree. Original Tyrian purple wrappers printed in silver. Some fading, less than usual. A fine copy. Half morocco slipcase and chemise Mason 348; Nelson, Checklist of Early Bodley Head Books, 1893.3 (this copy cited). Provenance: Edward Dean Richmond, his sale, Anderson, 2 November 1933 (McKay 9551). Item #338545
Author's Presentation copy, inscribed "H. Beerbohm Tree with the author's compliments. Feb. '93."
The recipient, Herbert Beerbohm Tree was an old friend of Wilde’s, leading actor-manager of the 1890s and half-brother of Max Beerbohm, and had been interested in Salomé and was “involved in at least the revision of the play” (Kerry Powell, Oscar Wilde and the Theatre of the 1890s, 1991, p. 40-41; see also The Letters of Oscar Wilde, ed. Rupert Hart-Davis, 1962, p. 320).
“The success of Lady Windermere’s Fan made Wilde the most sough-after man in London” (Ellmann).
Rehearsals for Salomé, with Sarah Bernhardt in the lead role, began in June 1892 but ran afoul of the licenser of plays, E.F.S. Pigott, who called upon an old law forbidding the depiction of Biblical characters on stage to stop the play. Only William Archer and George Bernard Shaw supported Wilde in his grievance.
When this copy of Salomé was inscribed, Tree was about to produce Wilde’s A Woman of No Importance — in which he starred as Lord Illingworth — at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, April 1893 (see Richard Ellmann, Oscar Wilde, 1987, p. 358–361). That play ran for 113 performances through July, and its success brought Wilde £100 a week. Wilde built upon these successes: his next play was his masterpiece The Importance of Being Ernest (1895).
A NOTABLE ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED TO A KEY FIGURE IN WILDE’S ASCENT TO FAME.
Price: $62,500.00 Free International Delivery