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Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.

Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.
Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book  By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.

Hitler - Mussolini Presentation Book By Frieda Thiersch | Provenance.

Hitler’s gift to Mussolini

Mussolini’s unique Munich 1937 presentation book

 

In September 1937, Mussolini arrived in Munich for a state visit. Hitler had already given thought to a special gift for Mussolini – a stunning hand-bound book providing Mussolini with a program of events  for his visit, along with a history of the city of Munich. This unique gift was created by the Munich-based master book-binder, Frieda Thiersch. Little did she know, that this one small commission, would lead to her being elevated to the inner sanctums of the Nazi Party, and recieving the commission for all the Knights Cross award documents.


The book in finest tan-red grained leather, and with a deeply impressed golden Führer style eagle & swastika. The interior pages in traditional letterpress on vellum. Contents including a full program of events for Mussolini’s visit to Munich in Italian and German. The opening pages finished in applied gold leaf. Further pages on glossed photo quality paper with images of the city of Munich. Other pages including hand coloured cards showing the city of Munich. The book housed in its original tan-red linen slip case. Remaining with the book, a presentation card with large embossed eagle & swastika, from Gauleiter Adolf Wagner, welcoming Mussolini to Munich.

Size: 22cm x 19cm.

Condition report: The book remaining in close to mint condition. The covers free from scratches or damage. The golden leaf eagle & swastika remaining perfect. The inside pages clean and intact. The presentation card also remaining clean, and free from creases  or damage. The linen slip case showing just light use.

Background to the Thiersch Mussolini presentation book: In 1937, and with Mussolini’s visit to Munich impending, Hitler wanted to give him a special book outlining the program of events for his visit. Discussing the idea with Gerdy Troost (art critic and wife of Paul Troost), she suggested her friend, and accomplished book-binder, Frieda Thiersch. Hitler agreed, and asked Troost to put forward the basic specification for Mussolini’s state visit presentation book.

Hitler wanted red leather covers, with a golden eagle & swastika. The book would include a full program of events while Mussolini was in Munich, along with small hand coloured sketches showing the city of Munich covered in Italian and German flags. Hitler liked Thiersch’s unique design for Mussolini’s book so much, that two years later, in 1939, he commissioned Thiersch to make the covers and certificates for the Knights Cross awards.

Additional notes: The practise of bookbinders stamping the inner covers with their name was not common place at that time, and as such, the Mussolini presentation book does not include Frieda Thiersch's name stamped to the leather. The practise of stamping her name to bindings first took place in 1939 when she was commissioned to make the Knights Cross award documents.

Provenance: Hermann Historica 1997. Acquired for the Italian-based Collection Lionello, and remaining in that collection to date.

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Additional background to Frieda Thiersch:

Frieda Thiersch 1889 – 1947: Thiersch was brought up in a middle class artistic family. Art was encouraged as a matter of course. Thiersch was a talented sketch artist and was given many opportunities to explore artistic endeavours --including the opportunity to learn to play the piano.

Her family commissioned the renowned tenor and composer Ludwig Hess (1877-1944) as Frieda’s private tutor. This led to Thiersch becoming pregnant by Hess.

Upon learning of his daughter’s pregnancy, Frieda’s father refused to speak to her. She didn’t see Hess again, and was subsequently sent away to France where the child could be raised without anyone in Munich society knowing. After the birth of her child (which she would not be allowed to see for ten years), she was sent away from France to England to learn a practical trade. She ended up at the bindery of the Scottish master Charles McLeish in London. From 1910 to 1912, she learned the art of bookbinding and was so adept that the master binder wrote of her:

"We have no hesitation in saying that Miss Thiersch has become the most skilled pupil we ever had, and we consider her, at the time of leaving us, equal to any professional we know."

In 1913, Thiersch returned to Munich with the intent of applying her newly acquired skills as a bookbinder, only to have her career interrupted by the war. When WWI started, she enlisted and served as a nurse. After WWI, she started working for the Bremer Presse, the premier bookbinder in Germany and one of only two in Germany considered to be a world-class bookbindery.

Thiersch quickly demonstrated her exceptional talent at the Bremer Presse in Munich, and infused her own style on the bindings, one of simplicity as opposed to ornate illustrations. At some point during the later 1920s, Thiersch chose to leave the Bremer Presse, and work independently as a bookbinder in Munich.

Thiersch's work had developed such a reputation, that in 1930 (other sources say 1931) she received a special rush order from the Vatican for a copy of Missale Romanum, the instructions and prayers for celebrating mass to be used by the Pope. The order came in at 10 a.m. and the book was to be finished by four the following afternoon. According to Fritz Krinitz (who worked with Thiersch), she worked through the night to bind the book. Pope Pius XI sent Thiersch a letter of thanks saying he used the book on a daily basis. The book is presumably in the Vatican archives today. Thiersch would often photograph the covers of her books for her records. The photographs that have survived, are housed in a private collection in Munich.

 

 

 

Price:

£ 4,750.00

Please click here to send an email about this item, or phone 00 44 (0) 1694 781354 to arrange or discuss purchase, quoting stock number: g008712

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