Unique bibliophile object: handwritten, water colours and artist’s binding
Karel SVOLINKSÝ; Vladislav V. JINDRA; Karel DUDEŠEK; Petr BEZRUČ: Slezské písně [Silesian Songs]. Handwritten text by Vladislav V. Jindra and original water colour paintings by Karel Svolinský. Prague: 1943.
SVOLINKSÝ, Karel; JINDRA, Vladislav V.; DUDEŠEK, Karel; BEZRUČ, Petr: Slezské písně [Silesian Songs]. Handwritten text by Vladislav V. Jindra and original water colour paintings or vignettes by Karel Svolinský on 22 pages, where of one double paged and one full-paged. Prague: Vladislav V. Jindra 1943.
4to. [1 (blank)], [1 (1st title page with water colour painting recto), 1 (blank), 1 (title page recto) and 1 (full paged water colour painting recto) leafs], 79 leafs (numbered with pencil), [1 (colophon with water colour painting and signatures recto), 1 (dedication of Svolinský to Obrátil recto), 1 (blank) leafs]. Original artist’s half leather binding by Karel Dudešek with hand-sewn capitals, grained light brown pig leather spine on three double bands with gilt spine title on dark brown pig leather applications including also two decorative dots gilded by hand, as well as boards with mounted brown marbled paper, light brown marbled end papers and coloured cut on top; all in original bookbinder’s cardboard slipcase covered with multicolour embossed marbled paper.
Unique bibliophile object containing the »Silesian Songs«, one of the fundamental texts of Czech poetry written by famous proletarian poet and prose writer Petr Bezruč (1867-1958) and originally published in 1909.
Edition, Provenance: Handwritten on smooth mould paper with gothic letters by the brilliant calligrapher and bibliophile publisher Vladislav V. Jindra this book was produced in this one copy only for [Karel] Jaromír Obrátil (1866-1945), the leading Czech collector of his time. Obrátil, a former Moravian schoolmaster and persecuted political activist for Masaryk, had a number of huge collections including 2.400 art works on paper, autographs, prints and posters, as well as a library of rare and bibliophile editions counting 12.000 volumes, and moreover 20.000 book plates. He frequently wrote about his collections and also provided some of his material for publications, especially items from his important erotica collection. Obrátil was murdered by the Nazis in April 1945.
Illustration, Dedication: The uniqueness of the preceding object of book art and it’s story is remarkably raised by being lavishly illustrated with original water colour paintings and vignettes throughout, executed in red, brown and black between 1947 and 1949 by Karel Svolinský, who also dedicated and signed this item truffled by himself for an inheriting member of the Obrátil family, as stated in Svolinský’s dedication, painted on a different sheet of grey fragile paper and bound in at the end of the book.
Binding: Karel Dudešeks skilled though elegant binding and slipcase gives this object the finishing touches and makes it an outstanding jewel among the rich stocks of Czech bibliophily. The colophon page is signed by Jindra, the author Petr Bezruč and by Svolinský, who also contributed another little water colour painting there.
Condition: Capitals of spine minimally worn, slipcase with some minor water stains, otherwise very fine.
References: Not in Dudešek 1983, 1991 and 1996; Čap, Daniel: Czech Bibliophily 1918 – 1938. About the Book Culture in the Times of the First Republic. Master Thesis. Prague: 2008, S. 109 (Obrátil); Heiduk, Oberschlesisches Literaturlexkion, Tl. 1, 1990 zit. WBIS/DBA (Bezruč)