Today’s book purchase was an edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray published in 1945 by the Unicorn Press, London. It’s rather battered and the spine is stained by some unknown brown fluid that may be blood (which would suit a sanguinary tale such as this) but which is most likely something less dramatic.
The cover is a cropped version of the design drawn by the wonderful Charles Ricketts (1866–1931) for the original Ward, Lock & Co edition of 1891. More about his work below. Ricketts designed and illustrated a number of Wilde’s books and was far closer to Wilde than Aubrey Beardsley, despite the latter’s permanent association with the writer via Salomé. Ricketts’ title design for Dorian Gray was originally lettered in full and the pattern beneath it extended further down the board. The reversed “y” is a unique touch, something I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else.