New Arrival

Co-Author Christopher Sykes’ Copy

Innocence and Design by Richard Waughburton.

London: Macmillan, 1935.

Price: $7,500.00

About the item

First edition. Illustrated by Christopher Sykes. 3 vols. 8vo. Co-Author Christopher Sykes’ Copy. Original green cloth. Very good copy without dust jacket. Proof copy in drab wrappers (spine titled in ink). Colonial issue in green cloth, illustrated dust jacket (stamped on title page verso). Bookplates of Wm. S. Reese.

Item #367022

Innocence and Design is satirical novel and travel book about Persia (called Media in the book), written under the Waughburton pseudonym by Robert Byron and his friend Christopher Sykes, with illustrations by Sykes. This is Sykes’ copy of the first edition (with his signature on the title page).
Robert Byron (1905-1941), art critic, historian, and author, was educated at Eton and Merton College Oxford, where he was a member of the Hypocrites’ Club and in the circle that Evelyn Waugh transmuted into Brideshead Revisited. He travelled widely and from the 1920s wrote a number of travel books, on Greece, India, Russia, and Tibet. “A period of journalism in London was followed by a visit to Persia and Afghanistan during 1933 and 1934, an adventure which promoted the best of his books, The Road to Oxiana (1937). […] He wrote it in China during 1935 and 1936 after making the overland journey to the Far East through Russia” (ODNB). Sykes, who had served in the British embassy in Persia, accompanied Byron on the journeys in Persia and Afghanistan. Innocence and Design was Byron’s stepping stone to writing The Road to Oxiana, which a later traveller, Bruce Chatwin considered “a work of genius”.
Sykes (1907-1976), chose Byron as the subject of the principal essay in his masterpiece, Four Studies in Loyalty (1946). He ater wrote biographies of Nancy Cunard and Evelyn Waugh.
With a proof copy of the book in plain wrappers, and a colonial issue in dust jacket, with a perceptive letter about the book loosely inserted (dated 12 June 1941, signed only A.), addressed to Tom Driberg (1905-1976), who was also member of the Byron-Sykes-Waugh set.

An excellent association copy.