Faithful Friends:. Arthur RACKHAM, Cecil ALDIN.
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London: Blackie and Son, [1901]. Item #04018

The Exceptionally Scarce Two-Shilling Deluxe First Edition

[RACKHAM, Arthur]and Cecil Aldin, etc., illustrators] Various Authors. Faithful Friends; Pictures and Stories for Little Folk. London: Blackie and Son Limited, n..d., [1901].

First edition, deluxe binding. Quarto. (10 1/8 x 7 3/4 in; 258 x 196 mm) 86 pp. With six full page two-color, and two black and white, illustrations by Rackham; miscellaneous color illustrations by Cecil Aldin, Felix Leigh, A.M. Hutton, Louis Wain, Gunning King, EAC [Edward Caldwell], Fannie Moody, M.E.E [Mary Ellen Edwards], M. Dixon, and others. Text by various authors.

Publisher's blue cloth, pictorially stamped in yellow, orange and pale gray depicting a little girl bearing a makeshift flag, walking with a dog and cat. Spine decoratively lettered in white and orange, gray coated end-papers, all edges gilt. School prize label on front free end-paper dated "April 1902". Small booksellers label (Dolby Brothers, Stamford, UK) on front paste-down. Spine ends a little frayed, some occasional and very light marginal soiling. A near fine copy.

Latimore & Haskell and Derek Hudson declare 1913 as the year of this book's first publication, yet the plates by Rackham are dated "1901." COPAC notes a copy and assigns "1902" as publication date but without explanation. OCLC notes a copy, "Printed by Blackie and Son Limited at the Villafield Press, Glasgow"-Cover./ Publisher's advertisement on p. [iv] of cover, for Hassall Nursery Series./ Binding: Pictorial boards with red cloth spine. Color illustration on cover of horse and dog," and assigns the date as 1913 (Riall notes this edition as 1904). We have seen another, similar undated edition in green cloth with a color illustration of dog and horse on laid to green cloth. And yet another edition, with pictorial boards similar to the copy under notice, in green cloth.

Confusion may be (somewhat) cleared up by noting that the October 11, 1901 issue of The Bookseller, in its announcements of upcoming books, lists "Faithful Friends: My Book of Nursery Stories" within "Children's Books & c. By Messrs. Blackie and Son." In the same issue of The Bookseller, advertisements by Blackie tout "Faithful Friends: My Book of Nursery Stories" available in a Two-Shilling Toy-Books edition bound in "picture boards with edges gilt " (our emphasis) and as a One-Shilling Toy-Book ("These form a Cheaper Edition of the Toy-Books of the same title in the 2s series"). We have yet to find evidence of the book, with that subtitle, ever being published.

Indeed, Latimore and Haskell (and Hudson) list the book under the title "Faithful Friends, A Collection of Short Stories by Various Authors" with the caveat: "Note: As the compilers could not see a copy of this book, the information was taken from the publishers." Their record for this book, then, is unreliable, and likely referring to a later edition.

It seems quite unlikely that the book 's publication was postponed for ten years. Based upon the advertisements in The Bookman, we conclude that the book was, indeed, issued in 1901 (Riall dates it to 1902 but did not have the advertisements at his disposal) with the present subtitle a substitution, and that this copy is amongst the very scarce few Two-Shilling Toy-Books editions with all edges gilt to have survived the last 115 years.

In over fifty years of specializing in the works of Arthur Rackham this is only the second copy of the true first edition that we have ever seen or heard of.

Illustrations by Arthur Rackham: (by leaf signature):

1. L11 "Playful Puppies" (Full-page, yellow, cream and black)
2. L22 "Waiting for the Train" (Full-page, yellow, cream and black)
3. N4 "Breakfast-Time" (Full-page, red, pink and black)
4. [N22] "In the Farmyard" (Full-page, yellow, cream and black)
5. M9 "Pussycat Town" (three-quarter page black and white)
6. M11 "Pussy's Playtime" (Full-page, yellow, cream and black)
7. M15 [The Bold Kitten] (one-third page black & white vignette).
8. M29 "My Pets" (Full-page, red, pink and black)

Latimore and Haskell p. 41. (citing 1913 edition - not seen). Hudson p. 176. (citing 1913 edition). Gettings p.178. (citing 1913 edition). Hamilton p. 189. (citing 1913 edition). Riall p. 63. (citing 1902 edition as being the first printing).

Price: $2,750.00