Book Description

First edition. Quarto (29.5 x 24cm). Publisher’s original faux-leather textured brown cloth with gilt decoration and titles to the boards and spine. Decorative endpapers. Introduction and preface in English, set within decorative borders, with the main body of the text comprising the poetry of Ghalib, arranged in double columns of Urdu with foliate borders. Illustrated with 24 colour plates (including the frontispiece), 3 monochrome plates, and 6 line-drawings, with captioned tissue-guards, plus one further drawing (the title page curiously overstates the number of illustrations, claiming that the work contains “about Fifty Plates”, however all institutional copies conform to the same collation as the present copy). Neat near-contemporary ownership inscription in ink to the front free endpaper verso dated 1934. A very good copy, the binding square and firm with rubbing to the spine ends and corners. The contents with toning to the endpapers and some very occasional faint foxing (not affecting the plates) are otherwise in very good order.
Dealer Notes
The first illustrated work by the highly influential Pakistani artist and intellectual Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1894-1975), often considered to be the first significant modern Muslim artist from Pakistan, and the nation’s national artist.
Born in Lahore, in what was then British India, Chughtai went on to develop his own unique, distinctive painting style influenced by Mughal art, miniature painting, Art Nouveau, and Islamic art traditions, as well as the work of his contemporary Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951). His subject matter was drawn from the legends, folklore and history of the Indo-Islamic world, as well as Punjab, Persia and the world of the Mughals. After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Chughtai came to be regarded as one of the most famous representatives of the nation, with his works often gifted to visiting heads of states, and with Allama Iqbal, Pablo Picasso and Elizabeth II amongst his admirers.
The present book - a sumptuously illustrated edition of the poetry of the Persian and Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) - contains thirty-four illustrations by Chughtai, comprising gouaches, coloured drawings and pencil sketches. Preceding this is an introduction by the distinguished scholar of Indian art, James Cousins, and a foreword by Sir Muhammad Iqbal, now considered the national poet of Pakistan. At the time of publication it was considered to be the finest achievement in book production in the country, and is now viewed as the most significant work of Chughtai’s career.
A scarce title, and one of the most beautiful and highly regarded art books produced during this period of pre-Partition India.
Author CHUGHTAI, A. [Abdur] Rahman; introduction by COUSINS, Dr. James H.; foreword by IQBAL, Dr. Sir Muhammad; [GHALIB, Mirza]:
Date [1928]
Publisher Lahore: Jahangir Book Club.

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