London: Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd.,, 1900. Item #03706
The Baby's 'Opera', 'Bouquet' and 'Aesop' in their Original Dust Jackets
CRANE, Walter, illustrator. The Baby's Opera. A book of old rhymes with new dresses by Walter Crane, engraved & printed in colours by Edmund Evans. The music by the earliest masters. [and] The Baby's Bouquet. A fresh bunch of old rhymes & tunes arranged & decorated by Walter Crane. Cut & printed in colours by Edmund Evans. [and] The Baby's Own Aesop. Being the fables condensed in rhyme with portable morals pictorially pointed by Walter Crane. Engraved & printed in colours by Edmund Evans. London: Frederick Warne & Co., Ltd. [ca. 1900].
Together three square octavo volumes (7 x 7 1/2 inches; 177 x 190 mm.).
The Baby's Opera. 56 pp. eleven full-page color illustrations and numerous illustrations in the text. Publisher's red cloth over glazed pictorial red boards, all edges stained red. A fine copy in the very scarce pictorial dust jacket (slightly chipped at extremities).
The Baby's Bouquet. 56 pp. eleven full-page color illustrations and numerous illustrations in the text. Publisher's tan cloth over glazed pictorial dark green boards, all edges stained yellow. A fine copy in the very scarce pictorial dust jacket (slightly chipped at extremities).
The Baby's Own Aesop. 56 pp. numerous color illustrations throughout, fore-edge stained blue. Publisher's green cloth over glazed pictorial multi-colored boards. A fine copy in the very scarce pictorial dust jacket (slightly chipped at extremities).
A fine collection of early reprints of the Walter Crane 'Baby' books. A very fine set, each in their scarce original dust jacket.
The Baby's Opera was originally published by Routledge, London in 1877. The Baby's Bouquet was published one year later in 1878 as a companion work to The Baby's Opera. The Baby's Own Aesop was published by Routledge, London in 1886. All three titles appeared in one book entitled Triplets (1894).
All three of the dust jackets advertise Walter Crane's Pan Pipes which was published in 1883.
"The coloured illustrations [in the Baby's Opera] mark the beginning of a subtler colour with wider range, including light blues, yellows, and delicate brick reds. The drawings had an unmistakable influence on Kate Greenaway whose book Under the Window  was to establish her success as an illustrator… The book included a combination of favourite nursery rhymes with accompanying pictures and music, which proved attractive to mothers and children. Crane's sister Lucy did the translating for the music. The five shilling book sold 10,000 copies and was reprinted in a second edition… Crane, who believed good book design to include all aspects of the book, knew the importance of the cover design. Perhaps the French-printed colour poster luring prospective buyers was the inspiration for such a conscious effort by illustrators to design an appealing book cover. This book [The Baby's Aesop] with its short text and large illustrations was designed to appeal to the railway traveller. The design is based upon classical motifs: the Doric-columned porch, the youth in Greek garb, and the overall formal balance." (Engen, pp. 20-21).
Engen, pp. 98 & 100 (describing the first Routledge editions).