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Yet more on Cecil G Trew and her illustrated Rubaiyat

November 18, 2015

Bob Forrest has sent us a copy of the second Trew illustration for quatrain 17 of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat, fourth edition.  This comes from of copy of Trew’s Reveries, in the UCLA Library.  We show this illustration below, together with Bob’s other version for comparison – the UCLA image comes first.  For reference the relevant quatrain is as follows.

Think, in this batter’d Caravanserai /Whose Portals are alternate Night and Day,

How Sultán after Sultán with his Pomp /Abode his Destin’d Hour, and went his way.

v.17 (2nd version)







JH Trew No 17

Identifying and repairing copies of the Rubaiyat

November 12, 2015

In a comment on the previous post. bomkampt8 asks for advice on repairing and identifying a copy of the Rubaiyat.  Specifically he asks the following:

to any interested parties….i am still in need to find a place that will restore or at the very least determine what years edition i have of the omar khayyam rubaiyat. also the front is fading,peeling badly over the years and i cannot make out the image of the front cover. if anyone knows of a place that can delicately restore my edition, i would greatly appreciate it. any response is helpful. i tried doing this same thing once before on this site, and got no answer at all. thank you for your time.

In our experience, this question can only be answered on a local basis.  One needs to find a local antiquarian bookseller and/or book restorer, and show them the copy of the book that you have.  The local booksellers will often know the names of good restorers in the area.  Good sources of information about local antiquarian booksellers are the web directories or yellow pages.  In addition, AbeBooks,, have a useful listing of regional booksellers covering many countries.  Not all booksellers will be knowledgeable about the Rubaiyat, but they can point you in the right direction.  If you have any information about the copy on a title page or equivalent, then Potter’s Bibliography, or Coumans’ for later editions, can be very useful.

We hope these comments are helpful.

More on Cecil G Trew and her illustrated Rubaiyat

November 11, 2015

Joe Howard has kindly provided the following images and comments to add to the discussion about the Trew Rubaiyat, initiated by Bob Forrest and Douglas Taylor – see previous post for the full discussion.

omar drew 72(1)  This is the first illustrated leaf of my portfolio. Unlike Bob’s, it has no text.









JH Copy Trew(2)  This is the cover of my portfolio, it has a different title from Bob’s copy. In addition the quotation, while the same, has a different font and layout. This is a poor photograph. The printing is much better (brighter and more uniform gilt) on the original. If needed, I will take another.








JH Trew No 17(3)  This is my image No 17. Bob wanted to see it so he could send me the other version of the image that has this verse.






Drew Rubaiyat Auction








(4)  I found this on the internet and noted two things (a) there is no text on the portfolio cover and (b) The description of the portfolio says it has 25 illustrations with associated verses. This compares with the quotation from a contemporary review that I posted, which said that in “The Reverie…..” there were just 24 illustrations with verses on them.


Cecil G Trew and ‘Reveries of Omar Khayyam’

November 8, 2015

Bob Forrest and Douglas Taylor have been studying an unusual illustrated edition of quatrains from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. They have put together a fascinating picture of the edition and its illustrator, but there are still outstanding questions. If you can help with information, please post your comments below.  Bob Forrest writes as follows.

Douglas Taylor and I have been having some interesting correspondence about Cecil G. Trew’s “Reveries of Omar Khayyam”, published in Los Angeles in 1929, in a limited edition of 1000 copies. This consisted of a folio (Fig.1) containing 25 black and white plates, each mounted on a card bearing a verse quoted from the fourth edition of The Rubaiyat (Fig.2 is an example.) Given its nature, there has been a tendency for the odd plate to get lost from the extant copies over the years, so that today it is rare to find a complete folio. Both Douglas’s copy and mine contain only 23 plates, for example. But by comparing our copies with each other, and with two other copies – one in the UCLA library, and the other a copy offered for sale on the internet – we have at least identified 25 different plates, those illustrating verses 1, 3, 4, 12, 13, 17 (two versions), 18, 19, 22, 24, 27, 29, 32, 37, 43, 44, 48, 64, 71, 80, 83, 86, 90 and 98. This would seem to qualify as a possible complete set of 25 prints, but if anybody reading this knows of any others, would they please let us know.

Fig. 1                                                                                             Fig. 2












The UCLA copy seems to contain a loose ‘title page’ like the outer cover of the folio (Fig.3), and the copy on the internet a loose colophon page (Fig.4), both of which have disappeared from Douglas’s copy and mine. If anybody reading this can confirm this, again, we would be grateful if they would let us know, as there is some confusion over who exactly the publisher of “Reveries” was – Fig.4 quite clearly gives “National Illustrated News Service” as the publisher, and yet the Kaloprint Corporation is often cited as the publisher when copies are offered for sale on the internet, and indeed their name does appear in the lower right-hand corner of Fig.3, and what looks to be their logo in Fig.4. This rather suggests that the National Illustrated News Service was indeed the publisher, and the Kaloprint Corporation just the printer of the plates. To add to the confusion, WorldCat cites both the Kaloprint Corporation and the Danbys as the publisher, but not the National Illustrated News Service! Again, comments are invited.

Fig. 3                                                                                       Fig. 4













Incidentally, Cecil G. Trew was not, as is sometimes stated, the pseudonym of Mrs Cecil Gwendolen Ehrenborg. Rather, she was born Cecil Gwendolen Russell in England in 1897, and became Cecil Gwendolen Trew on her marriage to an American physician, Niel Charles Trew, in Bristol in 1918. In March 1919 she and her husband left England to live with his family in Los Angeles. In 1929, the same year that “Reveries of Omar Khayyam” was published, her husband died, and she returned to England with her two children. It was in London, in December 1932, that she married Rolf Killigrew Ehrenborg, thus becoming Mrs Cecil Gwendolen Ehrenborg. However, she continued to use Cecil G. Trew as her professional name, both as a writer and as an artist, though she was never to produce anything like “Reveries” again.

Some unusual views of Omar – from beyond the grave and as Humpty Dumpty

August 24, 2015

Bob Forrest has been investigating a couple of writers who took distinctive and unusual views of Khayyam and the Rubaiyat. There are brief summaries below. Follow the links to Bob’s website for the full write-ups.

Omar speaks from Beyond the Grave? This is a spiritual interpretation of The Rubaiyat supposedly offered by Omar himself from beyond the grave, via the American medium Mrs Esther O’Neill. The results were published in a rather curious little volume entitled Omar’s Rubaiyat Re-written (Vantage Press Inc., New York, 1954.) The book contains the story of Mrs O’Neill’s contacts with ‘Omar’ as well as a ‘correct’ translation/interpretation of Khayyam’s verses in spiritual terms. See for more information.

Humpty_Dumpty_clip_art_mediumOmar Khayyam as Humpty Dumpty (7th January 1901). This is the title of last of four articles written by A. H. Millar for The People’s Friend, the others being “The Omar Khayyam Myth” (11th June 1900), “The Omar Myth Reviewed” (23rd July 1900) and “Homer, Omar and Andrew Lang” (22nd Oct 1900.) The four articles together are listed as Potter #842 The theory of the author is that, though Omar the mathematician and astronomer really existed, Omar the poet is a myth, all of the verses attributed to him being forgeries dating from at least three centuries after his death.  For more details on the content of the articles and the vociferous reactions to them by Rubaiyat enthusiasts, see

As Bob Forrest has commented, neither of these is particularly significant in the field of Omarian studies – but they shine a light in a couple of unusual corners of Omarian literature. Thanks to Bob for sharing his research on this.

Unknown Artist in 1902 Rubaiyat. Can you help with identification?

July 16, 2015

We have received the following request from Danton O’Day in Canada.  If you can help at all with information, please comment below on this post.

I’m trying to identify one of the artists in my collection. I can’t seem to find any information from regular sources so I thought I’d ask the Khayyam group via this blog. I’ve included a sample illustration plus an enhanced artist’s signature. I’m pretty sure this is not one of the known artists but any help would be appreciated.









5Q20 “Fledges the river-lip on which we lean.”






Enhanced “signature”


Book. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, and Salaman and Absal of Jami, Tr. by Edward FitzGerald, 1902. 5th & 1st with variations of 2nd to 4th Eds., Biographical Preface, “To E. FitzGerald” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, OK by E.F. and “Note by the Editor” W. Aldis Wright, Variations between 2nd, 3rd, 4th, Letter to Professor Cowell, Notice of Jami’s Life, Appendix; EF pic in frontis, 3 BW quatrain illustrations by unknown; Blue linen cover with title in gold and red, gold and black floral design on front and spine (6¼” x 4¼”, 176pp); Homewood Publishing Co., Chicago; Abbey Series

Thanks, Danton O’Day

New musical setting of Rubaiyat quatrains from Double Dutch Discords

June 24, 2015

doubledutchCDWe have received news of a new musical setting of verses from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. This is the work of Afsoon Elmy and Alan Boorman of Double Dutch Discords. Afsoon writes as follows.

‘The cd has been a labour of love for both Alan and myself, who are songwriters.  Khayyam has been an influence throughout my life, and I’ve always felt duty bound to introduce him to people who were unfamiliar with his work, so setting his words to contemporary music seemed the logical step.  We hope that our endeavour will broaden Khayyam’s appeal, in particular with regard to the younger generation.’

The verses are sung in English in FitzGerald’s translation. The full cd (of 11 tracks) can be purchased from, price US$9.99 plus p&p from the USA. The link is:

Currently there is only one track (Potter’s Shop) as a single release which can be downloaded via iTunes, Google, Amazon and others using the following links

More details and extracts are available on the website under ‘Khayyam’.

Our congratulations to Afsoon and Alan on their initiative. We are looking forward to listening to the disk when it arrives from the USA.


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