The Vein in the Marble

The Vein in the Marble
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The Vein in the MarbleThe Vein in the MarbleThe Vein in the Marble

Stephen Tennant and Pamela Grey.

London. Philip Allan & Company. 1925. First edition. Blue buckram-backed paper-covered boards, with title label pasted to front board and to spine. [8], 64 pages. Decorative endpapers, decorated contents page, 32 tipped-in black-and-white plates reproducing pen-and-ink drawings and watercolours by Stephen Tennant, decorative endpiece. 250 x 195mm (9 x 7"). 0.85kg. . English. Very good; slight wear to binding, small 2cm split along outer hinge at head of spine, slight splitting to inner hinges and between pages as is usual with this binding, although much better than other copies we have seen; light browning to pages. A very good copy of a notoriously fragile book.

The Vein in the Marble is a book of verse, tales and illustrations formed through a collaboration between Stephen Tennant and his mother Pamela Grey. Pamela provided a series of short poems and morality tales for modern life. Stephen contributed the accompanying illustrations, peopled with a mix of Regency courtiers, nymphs and fairy tale characters. Tennant's biographer Philip Hoare aptly describes the book as 'pure period whimsy'. The whole has a tendency towards sentimentality but Stephen's drawings and watercolours have a decorative, ethereal quality reminiscent of Beardsley.
Stephen dedicated the book to his mother - 'To the most perfect of collaborators in great as in little things - my Mother.' On receiving their first copies of the book Pamela and Stephen were filled with joy. "We almost wept with excitement as we each finished our book! The child of our endeavours at last launched upon literature's perilous seas!" (letter from Stephen Tennant to Elizabeth Lowndes, December 1925).
Despite positive reviews of the book, sales proved disappointing. Copies are now scarce.

[Hoare, Philip. Serious Pleasures. p.52-4]