Chicago: The Lakeside Press, 1930. First edition thus. First Rockwell Kent edition, limited to 1,000 sets. With a pencilled presentation inscription by Rockwell Kent to the front free endpaper of volume 1: 'To Jerry M. Stepanek by Rockwell Kent'. This is one of the finest editions of Melville's masterpiece and one of the great American illustrated books of the 20th century. In 1926, Rockwell Kent (18821971), then just beginning to establish his fame as an artist, was approached by R. R. Donnelley and Sons to illustrate a new edition of Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast. Kent demurred, suggesting Moby Dick instead. Kent was given complete freedom to design and illustrate the three-volume set. The resulting work has been hailed as a masterpiece of 20th-century book illustration and credited with reviving public interest in a sublime but difficult novel.
3 volumes, large quarto. Original black cloth, bevelled boards, titles and vignettes to spines in silver, abstract design and volume numbers within simple frame to front boards in silver, top edges black, others uncut. Housed in the original aluminium slipcase. Very light marking to covers, spines very slightly faded. Slight offsets from illustrations, as usual. Slight scuffing to slipcase. An excellent copy. (Item #1944)