Leipzig: BernhardTauchnitz, 1863. Copyright edition. vellum. Small octavo : two volumes bound in one : pp.vi + 328+ vi + 310 (2, blank) : bound in full vellum decorated in elaborate gilt : all edges gilt, concealing a fine fore-edge painting : foliate printed endpapers with label of G. Brogi, 1 Via Tornabugni, Firenze on the verso of f.f.e.p.
Title on top board slightly faded, some slight darkening to the vellum at edges and corners.
Both volumes lack a half title page but conform to Todd and Bowden 682Aa and 683A in all other respects. In other words, a first Tauchnitz impression of this title. Near fine. Item #1558
Romola is a historical novel written by Mary Ann Evans under the pen name of George Eliot and set in fifteenth century Florence. The novel first appeared in fourteen parts published in Cornhill Magazine from July 1862 (vol. 6, no. 31) to August 1863 (vol. 8, no. 44), and was first published as a book, in three volumes, by Smith, Elder & Co. in 1863.
The fore-edge painting depicts a full face portrait of Eliot in the foreground with the dome designed by Filippo Bruneschelli in the background. It is the work of Margaret Costa, a fine artist and one of the last practitioners of this art. "Margaret has been fore-edge painting since 1973. She has completed commissions for the British Museum, Foyles, Hatchards and other antiquarian booksellers, also for numerous private clients. Most recently, she has worked with Jeff Weber on his Annotated Dictionary of Fore-Edge Painting." (Studio 5 Book Arts website, accessed 11 Jan, 2021).