Song of the English, A
London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1909. Item #02926
One of 500 Copies, Signed by W. Heath Robinson
[ROBINSON, W. Heath, illustrator]. KIPLING, Rudyard. A Song of the English. Illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. London: Hodder & Stoughton, [n.d., 1909].
Edition DeLuxe. Limited to 500 copies (this copy being No. 311), numbered and signed by the artist. Large quarto (12 3/16 x 9 7/8 inches; 308 x 252 mm.).  leaves. Thirty color plates (including frontispiece), mounted on leaves with color border decorations. Descriptive tissue guards, each with a miniature line illustration. Pictorial title and fifty-nine black and white line illustrations in the text (half-page or smaller). Title printed in red and black.
Original vellum over boards with front cover pictorially stamped in dark green, red, and gilt and lettered in gilt and spine pictorially stamped in dark green, red, and gilt and lettered in gilt and green. Later brown silk ties. Top edge gilt, others uncut. A fine copy.
“The next important task I undertook, was the illustration of an edition of Rudyard Kipling’s A Song of the English to be published by Hodder & Stoughton in the year 1908. It became necessary for me to meet the author and discuss the proposed book with him. For this purpose, I travelled down to Burwash where he lived at that time. This was an excursion I shall always remember. I was met at Heathfield and journeyed thence in a motor-car. There were few cars on the road in those days and this in itself was a joyful experience as we drove through the pleasant Sussex lanes. Bateman’s, the house at Burwash, where Rudyard Kipling lived, was a fine old building with stone mullioned windows. It was in the midst of wind-blown Sussex country. There was a faint smell of the sea in the air wafted across the few miles of country from the shore where the Coastwise lights of England watch the ships of England go. It was a fitting setting in which to find the author of A Song of the English.
He met and entertained me with a quiet affability, which speedily removed the shyness I felt at first in his presence. Before long I was quite at home with him. His own knowledge of illustration gave him an appreciation of the artist’s point of view. While making suggestions, he realized that the illustrator must have as free a hand as possible. His sympathetic understanding of my part in the undertaking made me feel that I was consulting with a brother artist. I spent a happy and for me a helpful day. It was a great inspiration for the work I had in hand to be in such close association with the author’s interesting personality. I am always glad to remember that he was satisfied with my illustrations to his book.” (W. Heath Robinson, My Line of Life. pp.126-127)
“This poem originally appeared in The English Illustrated Magazine, May, 1893, prior to its inclusion in The Seven Seas, 1896” (Martindell).
Beare 61b. Lewis, p. 215. Livingston 321. Martindell 133 (giving the date of publication as 1913). Stewart 151.