The Holy Experiment...Series of Mural Paintings by Violet Oakley...in the Governor’s Reception Room and in the Senate Chamber of the State Capitol at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
[ Philadelphia: 1922 ]. One of 500 copies, signed by the author. 250 copies comprised the international edition with translations in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese. The pages of the original manuscript were written and illuminated by the author from her notes made in preparation for the paintings from 1902 to 1922. They are reproduced here from plates made by the Bell Engraving Company. The list of subscribers includes Joseph Widener and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Twenty-two tipped-in color lithographic plates with gold borders, including a folding plate that extends to 26”, illustrating murals and designs from the author’s work at the Pennsylvania State Capital. Text printed in red, black, and blue with several initial letters in gold after Oakley’s calligraphy. Printed upon San Matto paper, imported from Italy by the Japan Paper Company. Dedicated to William Penn. Minor soiling and light rubbing to binding extremities, light wear and a bit of chipping to gold endpapers. A remarkably fine, uncut copy of a fragile work, scarce n the original box. Loose sheets, housed in original tan morocco lettered in gilt and stamped decoratively in brown with floral and geometric designs, brass clasps, gilt endpapers. Large folio. folio (15 5/8” x 23”). [+7, author biography, list of subscribers, and index] loose pages in seven folders, Item #16586
Violet Oakley (1874-1961) was a New Jersey-born artist, Quaker, and the first woman to receive a public mural commission. For The Holy Experiment, she traveled to Italy to see the work of Italian master artists firsthand; she then went to England, where she researched William Penn’s life and influences. Per the author, each mural depicts events that influenced Quaker ideology and Penn’s lifelong search for peace, acceptance, individual liberty and religious tolerance.