London and Edinburgh: Gall & Inglis, circa 1880. Octavo, original full red cloth elaborately blocked in gilt, black and blind with decorative fern design, beveled boards, pale yellow endpapers, all edges gilt. Color frontispiece and seven full-page wood engravings throughout text. Front free endpaper neatly excised.
Lovely Victorian gift edition of Tillotson’s tales of “self-won true nobility,” first published in 1863. Noble men profiled include William Smith, the “Father of English Geology;” Robert Raikes, whose Sunday schools paved the way for the English public school system; and Thomas Coram, who established London’s first Foundling Hospital. Edinburgh-based publishers Gall & Inglis specialized in gift books for young readers; inexpensive yet ornate, these striking volumes were especially popular as school prizes. A bright copy in publisher’s gilt binding.