World Pictures – Mortimer & Dorothy Menpes (1902) (1st ed)


World Pictures – Mortimer & Dorothy Menpes (1902) (1st ed)


A beautiful, finely-bound tour of the world with 100 illustrated plates, half of which are in colour.

Title: World Pictures

Author: Mortimer Menpes (illus), Dorothy Menpes (text)

Publisher: A. & C. Black, 1902. First edition.

Condition: Full leather, find binding. Very good. Very slight fading and rubbing to cover. Very slight foxing. Gilt to all edges, sewn-in end-bands. Slight scratch to gilt on top edge. Marbled endpapers. Corners slightly bumped. A beautiful copy. 332pp., app 9″x6″. A heavy book, overseas shipping will cost extra.

Profusely illustrated with 100 plates, half of which are in colour and the other half, line drawings. A series of pictures and descriptions from various parts of the world, including Europe, the Middle East, South Africa, India, Kashmir, Burma, China and Japan.

About the illustrator (from Wikipedia):

Mortimer Luddington Menpes (22 February 1855 – 1 April 1938), was an Australian-born artist, author, printmaker and illustrator.

In 1900, after the outbreak of the Boer War, Menpes was sent to South Africa as a war artist for the weekly illustrated magazine Black and White. After the end of the war in 1902 he travelled widely, visiting Burma, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Japan, Kashmir, Mexico, Morocco, and Spain. Many of his illustrations were published in travel books by A & C Black. His book on the Delhi Durbar was an illustrated record of the commemoration in Delhi of the coronation of King Edward VII.

Menpes became a member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers (RE) in 1881, Royal Society of British Artists (RBA) in 1885, Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI) in 1897 and Royal Institute of Oil Painters (ROI) in 1899.

Menpes painted in oil and watercolour as well as being a prolific printmaker, producing over 700 etchings and drypoints during his career to great acclaim. A definitive catalog raisonne of his printed works was published in 2012 which also included an extensive biography and his exhibition history.

He developed a special form of colour etching and exhibited coloured etchings at Dowdeswell’s Gallery in London in late 1911/early 1912. He was also a pioneer, with Carl Hentschel (1864–1926), in the development of techniques to reproduce coloured art works in book form. His book, ‘War Impressions’, published in April 1901 by A. & C. Black, was the first book to faithfully reproduce art works in color, based on watercolors done by Menpes in South Africa, and therefore was the forerunner of all illustrated art books. Menpes also founded the Menpes Press of London and Watford to produce colored illustrated books using the Hentschel Colourtype Process, which was a photographic process that involved taking three photographs of an art work using three different color filters (red, blue and yellow) and then combining them in the printing process. Menpes was a great traveler and undertook artistic journeys to Japan, China, Burma, Cashmere, Mexico, India, Turkey, Palestine and Egypt as well as within Europe to Brittany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and other places, often returning from such travels to mount exhibitions of his works. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Menpes also produced the “Menpes Series of Great Masters”, which were copies by him of works by Old Masters such as Rembrandt, Van Dyck and others which were reproduced in printed form for sale. In 1911, Menpes donated 38 of his copies in oil to the Australian Government; these works have subsequently become part of the Pictures Collection at the National Library of Australia.