The First American Edition of a Fantasy Classic, In the Scarce Orginal Dust Jacket

    William M. Timlin. The Ship That Sailed To Mars, A Fantasy. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, [1923].

    First American edition (250 copies were distributed in America from the 2,000 copies printed in Britain). Royal quarto. Unpaginated. Forty-eight plates containing calligraphic text and forty-eight full-color illustrated plates; all plates mounted - on rectos only - on heavy gray paper. Timlin wrote the book and provided the calligraphy and the illustrations.

    Parchment vellum spine over gray paper printed boards. Spine extra gilt, with lettering, decorations and vignette in gold. Light bump to head of spine. Front board is slightly bowed; rear board is lightly rubbed. Minor toning to endpapers. One plate containing text has a half-inch surface abrasion to the margin, beyond the text. Several leaves have a small closed tear to the bottom edge, near the spine edge, generally measuring about half an inch; two measure one-inch. Inoffensive bookstore label to rear pastedown. The scarce dust jacket, printed in black and gold, has browned slightly. There are a few closed tears, a couple of tiny chips, and slight creasing, mainly along the edges; one diagonal crease across front panel at top right corner. Jacket very lightly scuffed. Overall, this beautiful book is in near fine condition, and its illustrations are still bright and vivid.

    Dalby, The Golden Age of Children's Book Illustration. Weinberg, Biographical Dictionary of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists.

    More Information:

    Acclaimed as both "the most beautiful and valuable science fiction book published this century" (Weinberg) and "a masterpiece ... the most original beautiful children's book of the 1920s" (Dalby), The Ship That Sailed to Mars was originally intended only as a diversion for William Timlin's young son. After two years of intense effort, the work had grown to a book-length illustrated fantasy story. Timlin, an English-born architect who was reared in South Africa, submitted the illustrations along with his own hand-lettered text to the British publisher George G. Harrap. Harrap was delighted with Timlin's work and published the book without typesetting, presenting the impressive calligraphy as an aesthetic element as important to the beauty of the book as the illustrations. The book is regarded as a fantasy classic, and Timlin's lovely illustrations are often favorably compared to Arthur Rackham.

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