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Stephen F. Gooden

1892 – 1955

The Brook Kerith - Headpiece to Chapter I by Stephen F. Gooden

The Brook Kerith - Headpiece to Chapter I   1928

  Original line engraving.
Signed and dated in pencil.
Ref: Campbell Dodgson 56
S 120 x 170 mm; P 52 x 102 mm; I 48 x 97 mm
Original Stephen Gooden line engraving.

Very fine signed proof impression. One of only 15 signed and numbered proofs printed before the plate was steel faced and used in the 1929 production of George Moore's book.

This original engraving was designed as the headpiece for the 1929 Heinemann edition of George Moore's The Brook Kerith, an historical novel based around the life of Jesus which explores the theory of the “Christ myth”, in which Jesus is a simple shepherd who leaves his flocks to foretell the end of the world but through various twists of fate becomes identified as the Messiah of the New Testament stories. Gooden's engraving depicts the setting of the opening of the tale, showing an imagined village in Galilee.

Stephen Gooden was commissioned to produce an engraved title page, this headpiece, eight illustrations, and a tailpiece for the Heinemann publication. These were engraved over a period of two years, between 1927 and 1928; a single edition of 15 signed proofs being printed from each plate before they were steel faced and used in production of the book itself.

Stephen Gooden was the most accomplished line engraver of his time. He illustrated a number of books, among them The Nonesuch Press Bible, The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, The Fables of La Jean de la Fontaine, George Moore's The Brook Kerith, and Aesop's Fables. In addition, Stephen Gooden was the foremost engraver of pictorial bookplates in England during his lifetime, producing over forty notable bookplates, including a number for The Royal Family, and was the official designer to the Bank of England.

On cream wove paper with full margins. Faint suggestion of mat line in outer margins, otherwise very fine original condition. Image surface excellent.