London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1906. Item #04245
Signed Limited Edition of Arthur Rackham’s “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens”
[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.
Deluxe edition. Limited to 500 copies, numbered and signed by the artist (this being copy No. 470).
Large quarto (10 3/4 x 8 7/8 inches; 273 x 225 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 vellum over boards pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt on front cover and spine. Top edge gilt, others uncut. Endpapers of the same heavy brown paper with map of Kensington Gardens on front free endpaper. Minimal foxing to edges and margins of a few preliminary leaves, lacking silk ties, large woodcut bookplate on front paste-down. A near fine copy.
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.