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    Original Dust Jacket Art by Charles Robinson

    [A. A. Milne]. Charles Robinson. "Once on a Time." Original watercolor over pencil drawing for the dust jacket design for A. A. Milne's Once on a Time (London: 1925). [N.p.: n.d., ca. 1925]. Image size: 10.75 x 14.75 inches; 273 x 375 mm. Signed at lower right. Matted.

    The drawing is for the entire dust jacket, with the lettering "Hodder & / Stoughton" on the spine. Mounted with the drawing at the top left is the artwork for the spine and front cover lettering, in black ink on onion skin paper (irregularly shaped, but measuring at its tallest and widest approximately 7.875 x 5.875 inches; 198 x 148 mm.).

    [Together with:]

    [Charles Robinson, illustrator]. A. A. Milne. Once on a Time. Decorated by Charles Robinson. London: Hodder and Stoughton, [n.d., 1925].

    First edition with illustrations by Charles Robinson (first published in 1917). Octavo (7.375 x 4.875 inches; 188 x 125 mm.). 269, [1], [2, blank] pages. Color frontispiece and numerous black and white text illustrations. Original light blue cloth over boards with front cover pictorially stamped in black and gilt and spine decoratively stamped in black and gilt and lettered in gilt. Black and white pictorial endpapers. Boards a bit bowed, spine extremities very lightly rubbed, top edge a little dust soiled. Otherwise a very fine copy. In the original color pictorial dust jacket (jacket with some edge wear, rear panel with two short closed tears and a few faint scratch marks, jacket spine slightly rubbed and faded, affecting a few letters, with some recoloring, with a small piece missing, and with a small stain at the foot, mainly visible on the verso).

    "This book was written in 1915, for the amusement of my wife and myself at a time when life was not very amusing; it was published at the end of 1917; was reviewed, if at all, as one of a parcel, by some brisk uncle from the Tiny Tots Department; and died quietly, without seriously detracting from the interest which was being taken in the World War, then in progress" (Preface).

    When World War I broke out, "Milne became a signalling officer and was an instructor in England until 1916. Persuaded by his wife, he wrote a children's play for a battalion entertainment at his camp; it had a fairy-tale framework, and his wife played the Wicked Countess. Persuaded again by Daphne, to whom he dictated it, in the evenings he expanded the play into a book, Once Upon a Time. A humorous and elaborate tale in the manner of Thackeray's The Rose and the Ring and Lang's Prince Prigio, it was first published in 1917 and then revived with new illustrations by Charles Robinson in 1925. 'Few people have read it,' wrote Milne in 1939, 'and nobody knows whether it is meant for children or for grown-ups. I don't know myself. But it was the greatest fun to do...It made the war seem very far away'" (The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature).

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2010
    11th-12th Thursday-Friday
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