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    With an Autograph Letter Signed by Crane

    Walter Crane. The Baby's Opera, A Book of Old Rhymes With New Dresses. London & New York: George Routledge and Sons, [n.d., ca. 1877].

    First edition. Square octavo. 56 pages. Illustrations by Crane, engraved and printed in color by Edmund Evans.

    Original illustrated paper-covered boards and cloth backstrip. Green endpapers. Edges stained red. Minor rubbing to bottom edge and corners. Binding is a little fragile, but overall, this is a near fine copy, housed in a custom quarter leather and cloth drop-back box.

    In this classic children's book, Crane's illustrations of favorite sing-along nursery rhymes are accompanied by the song lyrics and the musical notations. In addition to being an extremely popular book when published, Rodney Engen writes in his Crane bibliography that this book was a turning point in Crane's use of color and that the drawings "had an unmistakable influence on Kate Greenaway" (Engen, 63/64).

    Laid in is an Autograph Letter Signed by Walter Crane. The one-page letter is on Crane's illustrated "Beaumont Lodge, Shepherd's Bush" letterhead and was written in the 1880s (the date appears to be November 5, 1884). The letter reads, in full: "Dear Mr. ["Parker"?], I have only just returned from Glasgow ["to"?] find your letter of Oct. 28. I believe the sonnet you mean is the enclosed which was written on a picture of Mr. G. F. Watts', ["and"?] appeared in different catalogue. Please return me the M.S. when done with [indecipherable]. Yours, Walter Crane." The letter ends with Crane's distinctive signature. (George Frederic Watts, a prominent artist and fellow socialist, was a close friend of Crane.)

    These two wonderful items from Walter Crane, one of the finest and most influential children's book illustrators of the nineteenth century, would certainly be an impressive addition to any collection.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2008
    16th-18th Thursday-Saturday
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