London: Hodder and Stoughton Limited, . Rackham, Arthur. Hardcover. Octavo size, 123 pp. Near fine / very good +. Item #17091106
With Ex-Libris of J.M. Barrie which apparently is not unique, there being one other copy online as of this writing with the same plate. The ink looks genuine but the signatures are the same; interestingly, the library bookplates are tipped onto different pages. We can come up with several scenarios for the existence of these bookplates, but since the bibliographies are silent on it we cannot state anything with certitude. Mary Clarissa "May" Byron (1861-1936) was an author in her own right, but was best known for her abridgements of J.M. Barrie's works for children. This work, with six full-colour plates and fifteen black and white illustrations, all by Arthur Rackham, was an excellent gift for young readers.
Arthur Rackham (1867-1939), born into a "typical middle-class Victorian family showed an aptitude for drawing from an early age, especially with 'fantastic' subjects. In the autumn of 1884 he enrolled in the Lambeth School for Art; upon graduation, he began working on his illustrations part-time, submitting them to various periodicals and publishers, while working as a clerk. Success found him in 1905 with the publication of his 'Rip Van Winkle', which decisively established Rackham as the leading decorative illustrator of the Edwardian period. His work remained popular and highly sought for decades, through his final illustrated book, 'The Wind in the Willows, completed just a year before his death in 1939 (n.b., above quotes from Derek Hudson, "Arthur Rackham, His Life and Work"). However important "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Wind in the Willows" are, it is perhaps for his depictions of Peter Pan that Rackham remains most remembered, and this book, geared towards children, is a delight and a joy.
___DESCRIPTION: Bound in green cloth with dark green lettering on the front and spine, dark green vignette of Peter Pan after the illustration on the dust jacket, front endpapers only have half-page map in black and white of "Peter Pan's Map of Kensington Gardens", the verso of the front free endpaper has the bookplate of J. M. Barrie (as referred to above, likely not his original hand), frontispiece is a coloured illustration by Rackham of "Peter Pan is the Fairies' Orchestra" (plate not included in the book), title page vignette of Peter Pan (the same image as on the front board), volume not dated, printed in 1929 per the bibliographies; six illustrations in colour, fifteen other illustrations in black-and-white, all by Rackham, octavo size (8" by 5.75"), pagination: [i-iv], v- [viii], 9-123. Lovely pictorial dust jacket with the full colour illustration of Peter Pan referred to above, lettering in red and green on the front panel and black on the spine, black and white illustrated rear panel listing the three May Byron re-tellings of Peter Pan, this title being the last listed; price of 2/6 on the spine.
___CONDITION: Volume near fine, the binding clean and the green lettering deep, the corners straight and unrubbed, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, clean pages, the "Barrie" bookplate is in fine condition, and the volume is entirely free of prior owner markings; some foxing to the top edge of the text block and a couple of light marks to the bottom edge, some mild offsetting to the endpapers, else fine. The unclipped dust jacket is very good plus with some mild edgewear, most noticeably to the head of the spine (no loss to text) and some light dustiness.
___CITATION: Latimore & Haskell, pp. 65-66; Riall p. 168.
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