London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1912. Item #04263
Heath Robinson’s Wittiest Drawings
ROBINSON, W. Heath. Bill the Minder. Written and Illustrated by W. Heath Robinson. London: Constable & Co. Ltd., 1912.
Edition de Luxe. Limited to 380 numbered copies (this copy being No. 192), signed by the author/artist.
Large quarto (11 1/8 x 9 inches; 283 x 229 mm.). xiv, , 254,  pp. Sixteen mounted color plates (including frontispiece), with descriptive tissue guards. One hundred and seventeen black and white illustrations, including full title-pages, vignettes, head- and tailpieces. A little light foxing to first and last leaves only, otherwise a fine and fresh copy.
Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe ca. 1990 in full crimson morocco, covers bordered in gilt, front cover pictorially stamped and lettered in gilt with the original design. Spine with five raised bands paneled and lettered in gilt in compartments, gilt-ruled board edges, decorative gilt turn-ins, cockerel end-papers, top edge gilt, others uncut.
From the early 1970s through the early 1990s I had a few hundred books bound specially for me (E. Joseph) by Zaehnsdorf of London who were later taken over by Sangorski & Sutcliffe. Zaehnsdorf already had several of the original front cover blocks for these limited editions and over the years we had many more cut for the signed limited Rackhams, Dulacs, Nielsens, Robinsons etc, etc.
“In Bill the Minder Heath Robinson really found himself. The story is a simple tale or a series of tales about the wanderings of the King of Troy and a boot-cleaner called Bill, who became the Minder (today he would be called a baby-sitter) to the bad-tempered family of a bad-tempered mushroom-gatherer named Crispin. Like most of Heath Robinson’s characters, Bill was a solemn little person who took his minding very seriously, even to the extent of studying at the British Museum and in the Minding Room of the Patents Museum at South Kensington. Soon his fame as a Minder spread and he found himself minding a large flock of children. One day they were out in the fields, being minded by Bill, they found an eccentric old man in a haystack. It was the King of Troy, who had been banished from his country. With Bill’s assistance, the children set out on a journey, and through a series of adventures they restore this unworldly old gentleman to his throne. In the process they meet some very droll characters. These are the substance of some of Heath Robinson’s wittiest drawings” (Lewis, p. 102).
Beare 69b; Lewis, p. 216.