London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1906. Item #03599
Arthur Rackham's Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
First Trade Edition With Fifty Color Plates
With an Original Rackham Pen & Ink Sketch of Baby Peter Pan on the Half-Title
[RACKHAM, Arthur, illustrator]. BARRIE, J.M. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (From “The Little White Bird”). With Drawings by Arthur Rackham. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1906.
First trade edition. With an original signed pen & ink sketch measuring 2 7/8 x 3 inches; 72 x 77 mm., of baby Peter Pan on the half-title.
Quarto (9 13/16 x 7 5/16 inches; 249 x 185 mm.). xii, 125,  pp. Color frontispiece and forty-nine color plates (collected at the end of the text) mounted on heavy brown paper, with descriptive tissue guards. Four black and white drawings (two on the title and one each on p. 1 and p. 14).
Publisher's brick red cloth, front cover pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt, spine decoratively lettered in gilt, gray endpapers, the front free end-paper with a map of Kensington Gardens. Some light creasing and wear to edges of the two list of illustrations leaves, neat ink name and bookplate on front paste-down, small booksellers description on front free end-paper . Extremities of binding very slightly rubbed.
An excellent copy with a charming little pen & ink sketch of baby Peter Pan.
J.M. Barrie’s novel The Little White Bird (1902) “contains the first sketches for Peter Pan. The narrator is ‘a gentle, whimsical, lonely old bachelor’, an author by profession, whose ambition is to have a son. He meets a penniless young couple whose own son David becomes a substitute in his affections. He explains to David that ‘all children in our part of London were once birds in the Kensington Gardens; and that the reason there are bars on nursery windows and a tall fender by the fire is because very little people sometimes forget that they no longer have wings, and try to fly away through the window or up the chimney.’ The central chapters of the book tell the story of one such child, Peter Pan, who ‘escaped from being a human when he was seven days old… and flew back to the Kensington Gardens’… The Peter Pan chapters of The Little White Bird were re-issued in 1906 as Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, with colour plates by Arthur Rackham; this was the book which first made Rackham’s work famous. It should not be confused with Peter and Wendy (1911), Barrie’s novelization of the play Peter Pan” (The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature).
Latimore and Haskell, p. 27. Riall, p. 74.