Valentina Wasson’s upbringing in mushroom-loving Russia inspired this work, although directly Russian-related material is scant compared to the masses of international lore compiled here. Befitting a labor of love, the volume was handsomely printed by the prestigious Stamperia Valdonega (following Hans Mardersteig’s design) on heavy paper with deckle edges. Its pochoir plates reproduce beautiful life-sized watercolor paintings of mushrooms done by naturalist Jean-Henri Fabre, and other numerous plates depict other works of interest such as Gainsborough’s “Mushroom Girl.”
Provenance: From the library of chef and culinary collector Louis I. Szathmary, with the laid in, retained carbon of a letter from him to Ralph Geoffrey Newman (the late, noted, Chicago bookseller); this thanks Newman for “the interesting information on the Mushroom book.” A duplicate copy of Newman’s purchase invoice, with Szathmary’s cheque photocopied onto it, is also present.
This is copy number 412 of a limited edition of 512.
Green publisher’s cloth, spines with gilt-stamped labels, housed in the original neat buckram-covered slipcase. Corners and spine extremities show slight traces of wear with bindings otherwise crisp and clean; slipcase likewise shows only the faintest of wear. (In our rather bad photograph, the slipcase looks a tad bowed; in real life, it is NOT.) Glassine wrappers present (somewhat yellowed, a bit short as issued, and one with a bit missing at top of that spine). Top edges gilt. Pages and plates clean.
A lovely association copy of this significant and uncommon mycological text.