Description

    First Trade Edition of "Peter Rabbit" in the Publisher's Deluxe Green Cloth Binding and the Extremely Rare Original Printed Glassine Wrapper

    Beatrix Potter. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. London: Frederick Warne and Co., [n.d., 1902].

    First published trade edition, first printing, with "wept big tears" on page 51. Twelvemo (5.4375 x 4.125 inches; 138 x 105 mm.). 97, [1] pages. Color frontispiece and thirty color plates (included in pagination). Black and white vignette on title page.

    In the publisher's "de-luxe" light green cloth binding. Front cover stamped and lettered in dark reddish-brown, with publisher's monogram at lower right, and with a rectangular color pictorial label (a repetition of the color illustration on p. 26) surrounded by a double-rule box in dark reddish-brown. Spine lettered in reddish-brown with a tiny head of a rabbit in profile facing right after "Rabbit," and the same profile, upside down, to the left of the word "The." Top edge gilt. Gray leaf-patterned endpapers. Minimal rubbing to corners and spine extremities, tiny area of slight discoloration to cloth on front cover at head and foot of spine. Small erasure on the verso of the front free endpaper. A few text leaves with very slight creasing. A very fine copy. In the exceptionally rare original glazed paper glassine wrapper with price of "1/6 net," all on one line, in the lower left corner of the front panel and with vertical black lines at the top and bottom to indicate where the fold for the front edge of the spine is to come. Wrapper with a few tiny chips and tears at the edges and a few very small pieces missing at the head of the spine and on the rear panel. Protected in a dark blue cloth chemise (stamp-signed: "R. Patron Hollywood Ca.") and full light blue morocco book-backed slipcase with sides paneled in gilt with a band of onlaid reddish-brown morocco gilt within an inner and outer gilt fillet and spine in five compartments with four raised bands, gilt-lettered in two compartments, and paneled in gilt with onlaid bands of reddish-brown morocco in the remaining four.

    "The charm of The Tale of Peter Rabbit, as Beatrix Potter herself noted, derives in part from the fact that it 'was written to a child' in the form of a letter, 'not made to order' (Linder, p. 110). Some years later she borrowed this letter to a lame boy to use as the basis for an expanded version of Peter Rabbit's story with forty-two black-and-white illustrations, of which she had 250 copies privately printed in 1901. The following year it was published with illustrations in the three-color process printed by Edmund Evans. Its success was immense. So familiar did her animal characters become among children that Miss Potter was told how 'a small boy in church once inquired audibly whether the apostle was Peter Rabbit' (Linder, p. 92). Her next book, The Tailor of Gloucester of 1902, also was first printed privately, but thereafter she had a large and eager audience for everything she wrote" (Ray, The Illustrator and the Book in England, 331A).

    "The Warne edition of The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published on 2 October 1902, all of its first printing of 8,000 copies having been sold even before publication" (Judy Taylor, Beatrix Potter 1866-1943: The Artist and Her World (London: 1995), page 22).

    Linder records that 2,000 copies from the first 8,000 were issued in the "de-luxe" binding of "green cloth, light green cloth or olive-green, with brown lettering, gilt top."

    Linder, p. 421. Quinby 2. V & A 1629 (emerald green cloth) and 1630 (olive-green cloth).


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