Bristol / London: J.W. Arrowsmith / Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1891. Item #02273
Cricket's First Superstar
Edition De Luxe
GRACE, W.G. Cricket. Bristol / London: J.W. Arrowsmith / Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1891.
Crown Quarto Edition de Luxe, limited to 652 copies (plus ten Presentation copies), each signed by the author, this being no. 409. Quarto (9 3/4 x 7 3/8 in; 248 x 188 mm). xii, 512 pp. Forty-five full page black and white illustrations, including frontispiece.
Publisher's original half black roan over black cloth, with title and author's facsimile signature in gilt. Beveled boards. Professionally rebacked to original design, as usual; the inexpensive leather used by the publisher has not worn well on most of the surviving De Luxe copies. Top edge gilt. A clean and attractive copy.
"Dr. William Gilbert Grace was by common consent the greatest and most attractive figure that ever appeared on the cricket field. In his all-round mastery of the game, in the length of years during which he stood far above all rivals, in the amazing sum total of his cricketing achievements, and by no means least of all in the popular interest he excited, no cricketer, living or dead, has ever approached him, and it is doubtful if any ever will" (Obituary, The Guardian, Oct. 15, 1915).
William Gilbert Grace (1848-1915) was an English amateur cricketer who was a key figure in the development of the sport and is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest players of all time. Universally known as "W.G," he played first-class cricket for a record-breaking forty-four seasons, from 1865 to 1908.
Grace dominated the sport, and his technical innovations and enormous influence left a lasting legacy. He excelled at all the essential skills but his batting won him the most renown; he is considered to have invented modern batsmanship. His level of cricket expertise was unparalleled.
In many tributes Grace was referred to as "The Great Cricketer." H S Altham, for one, described him as "the greatest of all cricketers." John Arlott summed him up as "timeless" and 'the greatest (cricketer) of them all.' CLR James, in his classic work Beyond a Boundary, included a four-chapter section, "W.G.: Pre-Eminent Victorian,' of some sixty pages. He declared Grace "the best-known Englishman of his time" and wrote of cricket as "the game he (Grace) transformed into a national institution." During Grace's lifetime his public recognition was equaled only by Queen Victoria and William Gladstone.