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Lot No :


Estimate: Rs 60,000-Rs 80,000 ( $870-$1,160 )


TITLE: Sakoontala, or the Lost Ring
SUBTITLE: An Indian Drama. Translated into English prose and verse, from the Sanskrit of Kalidasa, by Monier Williams, MA, Professor of Sanskrit at the East-India College, Haileybury, formerly Boden scholar at the University of Oxford
AUTHOR: Monier Williams
PUBLISHER: Stephen Austin
PLACE: Hertford
YEAR: 1855
NO.OF PAGES: pp 227 + 27+ xxv, 17 plates
BINDING: Most impressive elaborate binding - for the publisher, Stephen Austin of Hertford - by Zaehnsdorf , full green Moroccan calf leather, heavily decorated in gilt with a central pictorial roundel within a floral design, title also gilt decorated, title in gilt on spine, all edges gilt, gilt inner dentelles,elaborate endpapers; title enclosed within red-ruled border; colour printed head and tail-pieces, borders, and an added colour-printed title, plus 16 colour-printed plates.
Height: 22.5 cm
Width: 18.5 cm
Depth: 2.7 cm

Sakoontala, or The Lost Ring: An Indian Drama. Translated into English prose and verse, from the Sanskrit of Kalidaasa, by Monier Williams, MA, Professor of Sanskrit at the East-India College, Haileybury, formerly Boden scholar at the University of

Sakoontala is a popular Hindu myth. The daughter of an ascetic sage and a heavenly spirit, Sakoontala is left in the forest as a baby. The Rishi Kanva eventually finds her surrounded by birds and names her "Sakoontala" or "one who is brought up by birds." Sakoontala grows up in Kanva's ashram where she meets a king and they fall in love. Their love story is the subject of this play.

Published by Stephen Austin of Hertford, this volume is his most successful work for its use of wood-engraving rather than chromolithography for its lavish decorations, using four or five colours using a relief technique that is "indistinguishable from chromolithography...The most lavish of the Oriental illuminated books." (McLean, 172)

Translated by Monier Williams, it includes a frontispiece, an additionally illustrated title page, geometric fly title, 14 intricate in-text wood-engravings with ornate colour-block borders, and decorative page borders throughout, handsomely bound by Riviere. The text is enhanced by the wood-engravings of George Measom based on drawings made by architectural draftsman Thomas Sulman from manuscripts in the British Library. This book won gold medals at the 1856 Paris Exposition Universelle, and Austin was awarded gold medals by both, Queen Victoria and the Empress of France following his exhibition. He also received the first-class Silver Medal of Le Jury International.

The publisher issued the book in various bindings, including cloth and half-leather; this example is the deluxe version. "The pictorial borders to the illustrations, as well as that round each page, and the other ornaments and decorations, are taken from MSS in the British Museum and the Library of the East India House. They have been designed by Mr T Sulman Jun, and engraved by Mr George Measom."

An extraordinarily lavish production in good condition.

This lot will be sold in "as is" condition.
There may be some minor tears/creases scratches, or holes commensurate with age that may not be visible in the images.

The books on sale in this auction are rare, out-of-print and otherwise collectable, dating from the 19th century onwards. The technology and material for printing and binding books have evolved over the last few centuries. From being the exclusive preserve of Clergy and Kings to an item of everyday application, the availability and use of books have also evolved over time. Books age over time and deterioration in a book's condition depends on many factors, including the original materials used and conditions of usage over time. Books will often show signs of foxing, fading, shelf-ware or dust jacket damage through usage. Prolonged storage may also cause wormhole damage or water stains.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of ageing. Condition requests can be obtained via email. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Storyltd shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.