Osbert Sitwell. With illustrations by John Piper.
London. MacMillan & Co. Ltd. 1945; 1946; 1948; 1949; 1950. First editions. 5 volumes. Red cloth-bound hardbacks with gilt title to spines, top edges black, dust jackets. xvi, 272; viii, 319; viii, 326; viii, 381; xii, 324 pages. Black-and-white plates in each volume. Reproductions of original paintings by John Piper throughout. 220 x 150mm (8¾ x 6"). 3kg. . English. Very good; very light wear to jackets, some light spotting to page edges, not price-clipped; Vol. I - fading to spine, a couple of small nicks, a 2cm tear at head of spine; Vol. II - light browning to spine, some spotting to jacket; Vol. III - light wear to jacket, ruffling and some tears at head of spine; a very good set.
A complete set of the five volume autobiography of Sitwell sibling, Osbert. The autobiography is grand in scale, has Proustian pretensions and is somewhat self-aggrandising; Osbert is only 18 by the beginning of the third volume. The books cover an Edwardian childhood and two World Wars. The fifth volume contains a series of character studies of his friends and acquaintances, including Lytton Strachey, Ronald Firbank, Rex Whistler, Arnold Bennett, Ada Leverson and Wilfred Owen. John Piper created several paintings of Sitwell's homes and locations specifically for the book and they are reproduced throughout. John Richardson later wrote scathingly of the autobiography as being 'intolerably puffed up and pretentious: gout-stool stuff' (Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters, 2001).