London: George Harrap & Co. Ltd. (1932). Rackham, Arthur. Limited Edition. Limp vellum. No. 131 of 550 copies, 8vo - over 7.75" to 9.75" tall, 48 pp., Signed by Illustrator(s). Fine / very good +. Item #16062308
A perfect convergence of "one of the earliest English examples of a fantasy written specifically for a child" (which may have had a direct effect upon George MacDonald and, subsequently, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien) written by the truly brilliant writer John Ruskin (1819-1900), author, art critic, and social thinker; being wonderfully illustrated by the unparalleled Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), whose "imaginative eye saw all forms with the eyes of childhood and created a world that was half reassuring and half frightening" (N.B., quotes from Carpenter, "The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature", p. 294 and Houfe, "The Dictionary of 19 Century British Book Illustrators", p. 268). Ruskin wrote the story for the then twelve-year old Effie Gray, later to become his wife, who challenged her friend Mr. Ruskin to write a fairy story, as it was "the least likely task for him to fulfill" - he fulfilled it wonderfully, and the story has remained a favourite with children ever since. With four full-page illustrations in full colour and fifteen drawings in black and white by Arthur Rackham, this copy housed in the original publisher's slipcase (with the limitation number matching that in the volume), with a white paper dust jacket. ***DESCRIPTION: Full limp vellum, gold lettering on the front, top edge gilt, fore- and bottom edges uncut, green pictorial endpapers, limitation statement on the verso of the half-title page, this volume no. 131 of 550 copies (plus 20 not for sale), signed by Arthur Rackham, frontispiece one of the four colour illustrations, title page in red and black with vignette in the same colours, the black and white drawings scattered through the text; octavo size (approximately 9" tall), pagination: (1)-48. The volume came to us with a plain white paper dust jacket (N.B., Riall mentions a "glassine" jacket, we have not been able to confirm if this is the original, albeit a variant, jacket or was supplied by a prior owner), and is housed in the publisher's plain original slipcase, with a paper spine label with brown lettering giving the title and illustrator, with the limitation number of 131 hand-written onto the label. ***CONDITION: Volume is fine overall, the vellum binding is clean other than some light, stray dustiness and a hint of sunning to the spine, the corners are straight and unrubbed, the text block is strong and the hinges solid, the interior pages are clean and bright with light foxing only to the endpapers, and it is free of prior owner markings. The dust jacket is very good with minor overall wear (no rips or tears), it is foxed particularly around the spine, with half-circles of soiling where the slipcase has a half-circle cut out; the slipcase is also very good, we had a professional restore some minor splits to the case and it is now strong and sturdy, but does have some overall soiling and what appears to be an old piece of cello tape partially over the paper spine label. ***CITATIONS: Riall p. 176, Latimore & Haskell p. 67. ***POSTAGE: International customers please note that additional postage may apply, please inquire for details. ***Swan's Fine Books is pleased to be a member of the ABAA, ILAB and IOBA and we stand behind every book we sell. Please contact us with any questions, we are here to help.