New York: Payson & Clarke, (1926). Quarto, original full black cloth lettered in green, pastedown wood engraving of a circus ring on upper board, yellow pictorial endpapers. Wood-engraved vignettes on half title, frontispiece, and title page; twenty full-page wood engravings of animals throughout text. Very light wear to cloth.
First trade edition of this modern verse bestiary, illustrated with wood engravings by Leon Underwood, “one of the founding fathers of British Modernism” (Telegraph). Best remembered for his African-inspired sculpture, Underwood mastered a wide range of media, and was one of the founders of the English Wood Engraving Society in 1925. The rich black images here are accompanied by nonsense verse in the tradition of Edward Lear and Hilaire Belloc: “The wily serpent never spoils / The appearance of his motive coils / By using lubricating oils.” Issued simultaneously with a signed limited edition of twenty-eight copies. A fine copy of a striking book, reflecting the artistic revival of English wood engraving between the wars.