Ronald Balfour’s Rubáiyát


If the work of illustrator Ronald Balfour (1896–1941) isn’t as well-known as it should be it’s probably because his 1920 edition of the Rubáiyát is his sole major work according to a recent feature in Book & Magazine Collector. These illustrations were produced when he was 24 and while the drawing can be uncertain in places, they’re really splendid examples of the post-Beardsley style, owing far more to Aubrey’s flourishes and details than to the usual Arabian exotica found in other Omar Khayyam adaptations. As usual I love the profusion of peacocks and winged figures, and, unlike many rare editions of this period, we’re fortunate that someone has put all the illustrations onto Flickr. Feast your eyes here.


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