H&W Brochure - page 26-27

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Randolph Caldecott; [Guild of Women Binders]. R. Caldecott’s Picture Books.
London: Frederick Warne & Co., circa 1900. Two quarto volumes, 9 x 8 inches,
one in portrait format, one in landscape. Contemporary full russet crushed morocco,
Art Nouveau botanical designs tooled in blind and gilt, both volumes signed by the
Guild of Women Binders. Color plates and sepia illustrations throughout text. $4500.
Later editions of all sixteen of Randolph Caldecott’s iconic picture books, most
based on English nursery rhymes, beautifully bound in two volumes by the Guild
of Women Binders. A pioneer of the Golden Age of children’s illustration,
Randolph Caldecott produced a pair of shilling toy books each Christmas from
1878 through 1885. These sixteen titles became instant classics, as the energy
and economy of Caldecott’s illustrations, along with his surprising counterpoint
between words and images, redefined what a children’s picture book could be:
titles include
The House That Jack Built
,
The Queen of Hearts
,
Sing a Song of Sixpence
,
The Three Jovial Huntsmen
,
Hey Diddle Diddle
, and
AFrog HeWouldA-Wooing Go
.
These copies date from the turn of the twentieth century, after FrederickWarne
succeeded Routledge as publisher. The Guild of Women Binders, active from 1898
to 1904, promoted the work of English women artisans. Guild members produced
a wide variety of design bindings, some the work of self-taught hobbyists, but
others, like these examples, executed to a high standard of craftsmanship.
A stunning set of illustrated children’s classics.
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Jonathan Swift. Travels Into Several Remote Nations Of The World. In Four Parts.
By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and Then a Captain of Several Ships.
London: Benjamin Motte, 1727 [i.e. 1728]. Two 12mo volumes, contemporary calf gilt
rebacked. Six engraved maps and plans, and four full-page pictorial plates. $6500.
First illustrated edition and first 12mo edition of
Gulliver’s Travels
, with engravings
executed after Jonathan Swift’s own suggestions. The book had created a
sensation when it first appeared in 1726: a masterful satire of contemporary
politics, popular philosophy, conventional manners, and the bestselling travel
narratives of the day. Publisher Benjamin Motte soon approached Swift about an
illustrated edition. In a 1727 letter, Swift expressed concern about the cost: “As to
having cuts in
Gulliver’s Travels
, you will consider how much it will raise the price
of the book. The world glutted itself with that book at first, and now it will go off
but soberly.” He listed a number of scenes suitable for illustration, suggesting that
“perhaps two adventures may sometimes be put together in one print,” and
underscoring the difficulty of illustrating the giant Brobdingnagians, “because
Gulliver makes so diminutive a figure.” Motte followed Swift’s notes closely.
He commissioned four finely detailed illustrations, one for each of Gulliver’s
journeys, with three plates depicting multiple adventures, as suggested by Swift.
The first plate, Gulliver bound by the Lilliputians, remains the archetypal image
of the novel. A very scarce early edition, with wonderful plates.
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