First edition, first printing. Signed by Richard Chopping. Publisher's original black cloth with titles and rose design in silver and red to the upper board and spine, in the proof state Richard Chopping illustrated dustwrapper. A superb very near fine copy, the binding square and tight with a little bumping at the spine tips, the cloth is bright and fresh. The contents, with a small mark to the top corner of the front endpaper, are otherwise clean throughout. Complete with the fine, proof state dustwrapper that remains without fading, loss or tears and has a faint vertical crease the length of the spine. The proof jacket is slightly oversized resulting in light creasing at the upper edge. Housed in a bespoke quarter black morocco solander case. Rare in this form.
The iconic artwork for From Russia With Love was Richard Chopping's first collaboration with Ian Fleming. The result proved so successful that with the exception of Doctor No, Chopping was commissioned to create the dustwrapper illustration for every subsequent Ian Fleming James Bond first edition. Jon Gilbert, in his Ian Fleming bibliography notes "Fleming received the 'splendid' cover illustration pulls at the end of 1956... Although Fleming commissioned and therefore owned the original painting, Chopping retained the original artist proofs and colour separation sheets for this jacket, as he would for his subsequent James Bond designs". Gilbert also notes that "no proof dust-jacket was issued. A few uncut 'regular jackets' may have been paired with proof copies as a trial". This proof or trial state dustwrapper is one of those retained by the artist. The artwork to the upper panel and spine is identical to that of the published version. The front flap is in an earlier state, the text identical but without a publisher's price to the lower corner and with slightly different spacing between blurbs. The rear panel of the published version carries reviews of Diamonds Are Forever, here it is blank. All corners are unclipped. Richard Chopping, has signed in black ink beneath the blurb on the front flap. A stellar piece of Bondiana. [Gilbert A5a (1.1)]
Stock code: 22274