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Rare Original Illustration from Armenian Legends and Poems by Zabell C Boyajian, 1916

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Rare original goauche illustration from Armenian Legends and Poems by Zabell C Boyajian, which was published in 1916


The Wedding from Boyajian's book Armenian Legends and Poems.

Gouache on paper 1916

Initialled at bottom right

Signed and titled to the verso, together with a poem by Moses of Khorene and Fine Art Society, Ltd, London label.

26.5cm x 36cm

An illustration from Boyajian's book Armenian Legends and Poems, 1916.

Zabelle Boyajian was a prominent Armenian painter, writer and translator. She was born in 1873 in Diyarbakir, in the days of the Ottoman Empire. Her father was the British Vice-Consul Baron Thomas Boyajian. Her mother Catherine Rogers was a descendant of the English poet Samuel Rogers. The murder of her father during the Hamidian massacres was a life-changing event. Boyajian moved to London with her brother and mother, where she spent most of her life. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, where she started writing and illustrating her own books. She became an active member of the Armenian community and significant driving force behind cultural life and fundraising during WW1. She was very close to the family of Raffi, the famous Armenian novelist: she had a close lifelong friendship with Anna, Raffi’s wife, and worked closely with his son Aram in the Armenian Association of London. She promoted Raffi’s work through reading events and translating and publishing his novels. She also contributed to Aram Raffi’s Land of Armenia, by translating Armenian hymns into English. Her most significant work is the beautifully illustrated anthology Armenian Legends and Poems, with an introduction by Viscount James Bryce and a concluding essay by Aram Raffi on the history of Armenian literature. Scholars have selected this work as culturally significant and a part of the knowledge base of civilisation. It is a collection of translations of Armenian literature from the middle ages, passages from the Movses of Khorene, a fifth-century Armenian historian, and poetry from the nineteenth century. Boyajian created the illustrations and was the anthologist and translator for many of the poems in this volume.