London: George Harrap & Co. Ltd., (1932). Rackham, Arthur. First and Limited Edition. Vellum. First edition with Rackham illustrations, one of 575 copies, octavo size, 48 pp., signed by Arthur Rackham. Fine / near fine. Item #21082320
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. 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.
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).
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), and with the original glassine wrapper.
___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, frontispiece a four-colour illustration, title page in red and black with vignette in the same colours, four full-colour illustrations (including frontispiece) throughout, the black and white drawings scattered through the text; octavo size (9.25" by 6"), pagination: [1-4] 5-47 , one of 550 copies, this number 287 (total edition 570, with 20 copies not for sale), signed by Arthur Rackham on the limitation page. In the original glassine jacket, housed in the publisher's plain original slipcase, paper spine label with brown lettering giving the title and illustrator, with the limitation number of 287 handwritten onto the label.
___CONDITION: Volume fine, the vellum binding clean and smooth, the corners straight and unrubbed, the text block strong and the hinges solid, the interior pages clean and bright with light foxing only to the endpapers, several signatures unopened, and entirely free of prior owner markings; some light dustiness to the top fore-edge corner of the text block, else fine.. The glassine wrapper near fine with minor overall wear (no rips or tears), sunned around the spine. Slipcase near fine, strong and sturdy, without splits or tears, with light overall soiling and some edgewear to the paper spine label.
___CITATIONS: Riall p. 176; Latimore & Haskell p. 67.
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