Love Night, A Laotian Gallantry - Powys Mathers, John Buckland Wright (engraver) 1936 - The Golden Cockerel Press, London - First Edition - Number 112 of 195 copies. Number 112 of 120 copies on English vellum-paper, out of a total printing of 200. Exquisitely illustrated with fifteen wood engravings, consisting of ten full page engravings, four half page engravings, and the illustrated title page. In the publisher’s fine binding by Sangorski & Sutcliffe.

Powys Mathers’ play about a festival night in a Laotian village. John Buckland Wright’s first work for the Golden Cockerel Press.

Although less explicit than the Paris based John Buckland Wright would have liked, ‘when ‘
Love Night’ appeared in Autumn of 1936, it was warm, but not too warm. The production was superbly successful. Printed on a smooth-surfaced Japon vellum, the presswork was immaculate, and the book’s effect was what both publisher’ and artist had hoped for.’ [Cave & Manson].

Powys Mathers’ ‘
Love Nights’ was considered for publication in 1934, but postponed because the partners wished to find the right illustrator, two years later it became John Buckland Wright’s first commission for the press.
  'Love Night is the book which I have always wanted you to illustrate for us. Though I have had the MS by me for two years, we have only just decided to issue it - to 'feature' you!' So wrote Christopher Sandford, co-owner of the Golden Cockerel Press, to JBW. This first JBW-Cockerel book was an immediate success and it was instrumental in introducing JBW's work to British and American collectors. There were also other benefits: a five year contract of £160 annually to produce thirty blocks or plates per year (this was later dissolved) and a lasting friendship with Sandford. The fifteen wood engravings in the book certainly match Sandford's cry: 'Our public want sublime figures & sublime love-bowers.' [Univeristy of Otago]

John Buckland Wright (1897-1954) was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, and educated in Switzerland, before moving to England and studying history and architecture after WWI. Almost entirely self taught as an artist, Buckland Wright moved to Brussels in 1926, where he learned the techniques of wood engraving, his illustrations exhibited and later commissioned by Dutch publisher A.A.M. Stols for
The Collected Sonnets of John Keats (1930). In the years that followed, the artist would go on to develop a close association with The Golden Cockerel Press, producing more than 200 illustrations for 17 books for the private press, some of which are considered examples of his best work. Buckland Wright’s engravings frequently demonstrate his fascination with the female form and feature nude or scarcely dressed figures in amorous poses.

Reference: Cave & Manson,
‘A History of the Golden Cockerel Press’, 126 [#113]. Online - otago.ac.nz/library/exhibitions/jbw/cabinet07.html.

Large octavo (binding size 25.8x16.6cm), pp. 140 [4].
  Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe of London for the Golden Cockerel Press, in quarter green stained vellum over cream buckram cloth, spine with lettering and publisher’s emblem in gilt, top edge gilt, others untrimmed.   Condition: Fine with the exception of some light rubbing to corners.   Ref: 110357   Price: HK$ 8,000