[Cruikshank's Fairy Library]
London: , 1864. Item #04690
A Complete Set of the Proofs on India Paper of the Twenty-Four Plates in the Series
Four Signed in Pencil by George Cruikshank
CRUIKSHANK, George. [The Fairy Library]. [London: D. Bogue / Routledge, Warne & Routledge, 1853, 1854, 1854 & 1864].
A Complete Set of the Etched Proofs on India Paper of the Twenty-Four Plates in the Series. The four first etchings are each signed in pencil by George Cruikshank.
Folio (11 7/8 x 8 5/8 inches; 301 x 219 mm.). Twenty-four etched proofs on India paper (average size of proof 6 7/8 x 5 1/4 inches; 175 x x 133 mm.) all mounted on thick card measuring 11 7/8 x 8 5/8 inches; 301 x 219 mm.
Chemised in a quarter red morocco slipcase over red cloth ruled in gilt, spine with five raised bands, lettered in gilt in compartments. Some light foxing to mounts only.
Frederick Arnold (fl. 1862-1874 was George Cruikshank's publisher of the first reissues of the first three volumes of The Fairy Library and the first edition of the fourth volume, Puss in Boots.
George Cruikshank’s Fairy Library consists of four stories; Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hop o’ my Thumb and the Seven League Boots, and Puss in Boots. First published, London: D. Bogue / Routledge, Warne & Routledge, , , , . Cruikshank was already a distinguished caricaturist and illustrator of books for children and adults when he produced this work.
His illustrations for the first English translation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales were praised widely, but his own rewriting of the fairy tales was criticized, most prominently by Charles Dickens. This was not due to the quality of the illustrations, but because, in line with his temperance beliefs, Cruikshank rewrote aspects of the fairy tales to warn the reader against the evils of alcohol. Thus, for instance, the preparations for Cinderella’s marriage include the court throwing all alcohol in the palace on a bonfire; and in Jack and the Beanstalk, the giant is an alcoholic. Dickens, a friend of Cruikshank, was outraged at what he considered to be a betrayal of the essence of fairy tales and, in protest he published an essay in his weekly magazine Household Words entitled Frauds on the Fairies in protest (1853).
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)
After the financial failure of 1851, or, The Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sandboys, who came up to London... Cruikshank decided to resume fairy tale illustrations…
"Cruikshank's reason for returning to fairy tales was a good deal more pragmatic. He needed money, and since his illustrations for the Brothers Grimm and other nursery favorites had earned him both a reputation and some shillings, he decided to revive those earlier subjects. This time, however, since no authorial collaborator was available, Cruikshank elected to write, embellish, and publish a series of fairy tales all on his own. He approached David Bogue with this proposition in the autumn of 1852; between them they arranged for the artist to receive advances against receipts to cover the cost of "editing" the texts and etching the plates, and for the publisher to make periodic accountings of each title as it was printed and sold. By May of the next year, however, Cruikshank was anticipating his income to such an extent that even before the plates for the first volume, Hop o' my Thumb and the Seven League Boots, were completed he was overdrawn... Cruikshank finished Hop around the first of June 1853... The next two volumes in the Fairy Library [The History of Jack & The Beanstalk and Cinderella and the Glass Slipper] were duly issued in 1854...
See Cohn 196-199.