London: Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd., [n. d., circa 1913-1919]. Wain, Louis. Hardcover. Octavo size,  pp., with twenty-four Picture Stamps. Very good. Item #CNJWEM024
English artist Louis Wain (1860-1939) is referred to by some as "the asylum artist" due to having been placed into a mental hospital in 1924 and remaining institutionalised until his death. However, prior to that he had become an extremely well-known and beloved illustrator; he created a whimsical world of animals, including his trademark anthropomorphic cats, the animals living in a rich, vibrant world and displaying playful personalities as they go about their day.
One of Wain's contemporary admirers, H. G. Wells, stated "[Wain]...made the cat his own. He invented a cat style, a cat society, a whole cat world. English cats that do not look and live like Louis Wain cats are ashamed of themselves" (n. b., quote from Wikipedia). Wain continued his artwork during his time in the mental hospitals, leaving a body of work that has been studied by psychologists as well as admired by many, still being collected today.
The book comes with twenty-four Picture Stamps, made for children to adhere to designated parts of the book, adding colour to the pages and making each story their own. This volume has all twenty-four Stamps included in a separate envelope, not glued to the pages (see Condition statement below). A scarce book to find in any condition, OCLC locates one copy (Victoria & Albert Museum) and there are no auction records; one other copy is online as of this writing, note that our copy is complete and in the original, unrestored binding.
___DESCRIPTION: Quarter pink cloth with pictorial paper boards, colour illustration with white and green lettering on the front board, with a rectangular cut-out for a Picture Stamp in the centre (empty), a selection of other books from the publisher with black-and-white images of the covers on the rear board, white paper pocket on the front paste-down made to hold the Picture Stamps, title page with black-and-white illustration by Louis Wain, full-page, full-colour illustration following the title page (the "frontis", although placed to open the story rather than being opposite the title page), line drawings in black by Wain throughout; octavo size (9" by 7"), 25 unnumbered pages. With twenty-four colour Picture Stamps, held inside a small envelope tipped onto the front paste-down.
___CONDITION: Very good, with a strong, square text block with solid hinges, straight corners, the interior is clean and bright, and the sole prior owner marking being a Christmas gift inscription dated 1919; light overall soiling, the corners slightly rubbed, light foxing/toning to the first and final several pages, small tear to the paper pocket on the front paste-down. The Picture Stamps are clean overall, with bright colours, eleven appear unused, thirteen appear to have been used at one time, some with minor paper repairs; although all twenty-four picture stamps are present, and the book pages show no sign of the stamps being adhered to them, it appears as though some of the stamps may have originally come from another copy, as there is evidence of removal on the versos.
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