At my fellowship today, I was going through files on old exhibitions and I came across one on a show the SAAM put on in 1995 all about the illustrations Elihu Vedder did for The Rubáiyát in 1884 (the museum owns the full set). To put it simply, I fell in love. I love the quality of Vedder's work, his drawings by turns complex (see above) and simple (see below), but always possessing such gorgeous, stylized movement. Plus, he incorporates the actual text of the poem into the drawings in a beautiful yet easily read hand.
I highly recommend studying all of Vedder's Rubáiyát illustrations. This small sampling hardly does them justice!
PS: If any of this seems familiar, it's because I blogged about The Rubáiyát last summer when I discovered a copy with illustrations by Edmund Dulac in a local shop.