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Updates to The Golden Age of Rubaiyat Art. I. The Illustrators

October 3, 2018

Danton O’Day has sent us the following update of information contained in his books on ‘The Golden Age of Rubaiyat Art, 1884-1913.  More details about these books are given in earlier posts, notably https://omarkhayyamrubaiyat.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/the-golden-age-of-rubaiyat-art-1884-1913-a-complete-catalog/.

In documenting the first artists of Edward FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, my first book “The Golden Age of Rubaiyat Art, 1884-1913, I. The Illustrators. Danton H. O’Day, Emeritus Press” summarized the known and putative publication dates for artists who produced pictures to illustrate the verses. A previously unknown artist was revealed in that book. Since then, information has come to light that alters the original publication date for this artist.

Unknown Illustrator Update

Illustration for quatrain 20 (5th Ed) by Unknown Artist.

It was previously indicated that this “Unknown Artist” illustrated a 1901 book published by Homewood Publishing. I have recently acquired a 1900 publication by W.B. Conkey Company that contains the same black and white pictures by the artist, thus pushing the original date back one year.

Here’s information about this book:

Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, and Salaman and Absal of Jami, Tr. by Edward FitzGerald, 1900. 5th & 1st with variations of 2nd to 4th Eds., “To E. FitzGerald” by Alfred Lord Tennyson, OK by E.F. and “Note by the Editor” W. Aldis Wright, etc.; frontis pic of EF, Illustrated by Unknown Artist; Decorated (holly) board cover ¼ bound with white linen with title and design in gold on front left side and spine (6¼” x 4¼”, 176pp); W.B. Conkey Co., Chicago; very good (bumped cover corners; darkened spine; dedication in ink in front endpapers), December 35, 1900; No Potter.

I hope that further examinations of their collections by others in the Omar Khayyam community will either verify 1900 as the original publication date for the artwork of the “Unknown Artist” or reveal an even earlier date. Knowing his or her name would also be a plus.

Golden Age Illustrator Update

Over the past year I’ve also gained a lot of new information about the less recognized artists of the Rubaiyat—those who decorated, embellished or otherwise visually improved the poetry collection. In the next year or so I will add information and images by a number of new frontispiece artists, page decorators and illuminators to a revised and updated “The Golden Age of Rubaiyat Art, 1884-1913, III. The Decorators. Danton H. O’Day, Emeritus Press”.

While I have made these discoveries on my own, those kind lovers of the Rubaiyat who previously have supplied important information and or pictures for my books were not only acknowledged in those books but also given a free signed copy. I hope others will fill in any artistic blanks I’ve missed. I also gratefully accept corrections to any errors I may have made.

Thank you.

Danton H. O’Day
Oakville, ON
24 Sept 2018

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