London: D. Bogue, 1853. Item #04441
A Complete Set of The Fairy Library
With all of the Plates in Two States - Hand-Colored and Plain
The First Three Titles Boldly Signed By Cruikshank
CRUIKSHANK, George. George Cruikshank's Fairy Library. [Comprising:] Hop-O'My-Thumb and The Seven-League Boots. Edited and illustrated with six etchings by George Cruikshank. London: David Bogue, . [Together with:] The History of Jack & the Bean-Stalk. Edited and illustrated with six etchings by George Cruikshank. London: David Bogue, . [And:] Cinderella and the Glass Slipper. Edited and illustrated with ten subjects, designed and etched on steel, by George Cruikshank. London: David Bogue, . [And:] Puss in Boots. Edited and illustrated with etchings on steel, by George Cruikshank. London: Routledge, Warne & Routledge… F. Arnold, .
First edition, (**most probably first issues) of all four titles including Puss in Boots which has the notice "To the Public" on the inside of the front cover repeated on separate leaf in different type, and no list of plates.
Four octavo volumes bound in one (6 3/4 x 5 1/16 inches; 172 x 128 mm.). [1, title], [2, imprint], , 4-30, [1, List of illustrations], [1, blank]; [1, blank], [2, List of illustrations], [3, title], [4, imprint], , 6-32; [1, blank], [2, List of illustrations], [3, title], [4, imprint], , 6-31, [1, blank]; [i, General Title], [ii, To the Public], [1, title], [2, blank], , 4-40 pp. Original green cardboard printed front covers for each volume bound in. The back wrappers are not present.
Plates in two states, hand colored and plain. Fifty-one black and white etchings, including frontispieces, on thirty plates. First color plate in Hop O' My-Thumb very slightly chipped at lower right-hand corner (7/8 x 1/8 inch), otherwise fine.
Hop-O' My-Thumb boldly inscribed on title-page "To the Revd. Thomas Hugo with the regards of Geo. Cruikshank Augt. 9 1853".
The History of Jack & The Bean-Stalk boldly inscribed on the list of illustrations "Revd. Thos. Hugo with the regards of [three indiscernible marks] Geo. Cruikshank".
Cinderella and the Glass Slipper boldly inscribed on the recto of the list of illustrations "Revd. Thos. Hugo [three indiscernible marks] with the regards of Geo. Cruikshank".
Bound ca. 1880 by Francis Bedford (stamp-signed in gilt on front turn-in). Full citron morocco, covers triple-ruled in gilt, spine with five raised bands, richly decorated and lettered in gilt in compartments. Double gilt-ruled board edges, gilt decorated turn-ins, maroon paper liners and endleaves, all edges gilt.
With the bookplates of Francis Wilson and Marshall Reid Anspach on front paste-down. Also with the ink signature of Francis Wilson on the first and second blank leaves. Francis Wilson was a celebrated book collector, author and contemporary of the American poet and journalist, Eugene Field (1850-1895). Marshall Reid Anspach (1895-?) was a successful and popular attorney). Loosely inserted is the original catalog description from the Francis Wilson auction sale (November 6th, 1940).
** The four titles have been bound without the rear wrappers - so they are impossible to authenticate as first issues. However the first three titles are inscribed by George Cruikshank to the Reverend Thomas Hugo and the first inscription is actually dated August 9th, 1853 - described as "A remarkable set…"
The Reverend Thomas Hugo (1820-1876). "A ripe scholar, a refined English gentleman, and a stanch High Church priest, he soon attained promotion to a more congenial sphere, and served as curate for six years at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. He was elected a Fellow of the Societies of Antiquaries, Literature, the Linnaean, and a host of others. From his pen sprang innumerable lectures, essays, catalogues, histories and reviews. In 1858 he was appointed to the benefice of All Saints, Bishopsgate. Ten years afterwards he was instituted to the rectory of West Hackney. As will be seen on reference to his books, he was a most ardent collector of Bewickiana, - a pursuit in which he spent much time and money…" He wrote The Bewick Collector. A Supplement to a descriptive catalogue of the works of T. & J. Bewick… London: 1868. (Bigmore and Wyman. A Bibliography of Printing, p. 348).
"To the Reverend Thomas Hugo, the foremost collector of Bewick, Cruikshank sent inscribed china paper proofs of the plates [Hop O' My Thumb]" (Patten. George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, Volume 2, p.335).
"Much of Cruikshank's remaining years was spent authenticating pictures and sketches and assembling copies of his works for his own collection and for Cuthbert Bede, W.H. Bruton, Sir Percy Fielding, Sir W.A. Fraser, Thomas Hugo, Frederick Locker Lampson, G.W. Reid, Truman, and other enthusiasts." (Patten. George Cruikshank's Life, Times, and Art, Volume 2, p.384).
"Princeton's holdings of the Fairy Library are virtually complete, including copies of the earliest issues and sets of china paper proofs of the illustarations for the first three, inscribed by the artist to the Rev. Thomas Hugo and including two autograph letters to the recipient." (Patten. George Cruikshank A Revaluation, p.29).
"'Puss In Boots'... is extremely rare" (Cohn).
The Fairy Library was not well-received by Cruikshank's close friend, Charles Dickens. Cruikshank (who wrote the text) in his alcohol abstinence zeal had turned these classic stories into temperance tracts. Dickens, in the October 1, 1853 issue of Household Words, wrote a review, Frauds on Fairies, that harshly criticized Cruikshank for "propagating the doctrines of Total Abstinance, Prohibition... Free Trade, and Popular Education" (Patten II, p. 339).
Yet "so even in Hop and the two stories that followed in the Fairy Library, the illustrations continue to evoke magic kingdoms while the prose cranks out diatribes" (ibid). Later, in 1864, when Routledge wished to continue the series with Puss In Boots, Cruikshank did so "purged of teetotal maxims" (ibid,. p. 387)