After a long hiatus from uploading photos and generally tending to the site, we will be adding much new material in the week ahead, including illustrated manuscripts, a few wonderful color plate books, and some quirky ephemera items.
Our fair schedule resumes in the New Year with the San Francisco Antiquarian Print & Paper Fair on February 1st and 2nd at the Fort Mason Center and the California International Antiquarian Book Fair beginning the following Thursday in Pasadena. More details will follow.
Title Album of Watercolor Illustrations from a World War Two P.O.W. Depicting P.O.W. Theater
Book Condition Very Good
Publisher Burgeret, Kenya 1943
Seller ID 001983
Highly unusual album of original art done by an Italian P.O.W. imprisoned in Africa during World War Two. In a mere twelve leaves the artist depicts the more frivolous, bearable aspect of being a P.O.W., with its drag shows, its food lines, its attempts at normalcy. Rendered with a light touch and great economy, the scenes evoke the musical South Pacific, and the artwork itself has the narrative drive of a Norman Rockwell work, perhaps surprising given that the artist was an Italian. So here we have several depictions of soldiers in drag and other costume. Burguret, where this work was done, was a P.O.W. camp located in Kenya. Although all the works are signed, it is impossible to read the signature. There is a note on the first leaf in which it appears an Italo Puglese is dedicating the album to a Lieutenant Blencome, who "With his generosity he has made my prison days a little more cheerful." The words that follow are illegible and thus undermine a clearcut identification of the parties. Nevertheless, the charm and skill of the drawings are undeniable, and as a contemporary account of life in the camp, whoever was responsible, invaluable. The album binding is heavily soiled. The staples binding the leaves are rusty, and two leaves are loose. Minor toning and soiling to the illustration pages. Oblong album, measuring 10 by 7 inches, 27 by 18 cm.