Cedars of Lebanon

Edward Lear - "Cedars of Lebanon"
Edward Lear, ‚Cedars of Lebanon‘, 1858, watercolour
Museum no. P.4-1930 , © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Penguin Edition, 1968 / Cover illustration by Osbert Lancaster

Traces of the Orient
Today, two more volumes from „The Music of Time“ by Anthony Powell have arrived from an England secondhand bookshop. I’m a month behind. The July, August and September novels all address Jenking’s experiences in WWII. Starting with The Valley of Bones I found these lines, young Kedward telling his fresh comrade Jenkins:

I hope we do go abroad. My dad was in his battalion in the last war and got sent to the Holy Land. He brought me back a prayer-book bound in wood from the Cedars of Lebanon. I wasn’t born then, of course, but he got the prayer book for his son, if he had one. Of course that was if he didn’t get killed. He hadn’t even asked my mum to marry him then.

I tried to find a picture of a wooden bound old prayer book without avail. Islam book binding sometimes has wooden boards covered in leather. I wonder, if there would be carved or inlaid book covers. The prayer book Kedward ist telling about probably is a Christian one, though. In lieu of the book there’s the watercolour of Edward Lear showing very impressiv specimens of the Cedars of Lebanon.

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