London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1896. Item #04724
One of 150 Large Paper Copies on Japon Vellum
Influenced by Walter Crane
ROBINSON, Charles, illustrator. STEVENSON, Robert Louis. A Child's Garden of Verses… London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, 1896.
First Illustrated Edition. One of 150 large-paper copies printed on Japon vellum paper.
Octavo (8 3/4 x 6 inches; 224 x 151 mm.). xiv, 136,  pp. Over 150 line drawings including many full-page.
Publisher's original dark red cloth as issued with the green cloth covers of the trade edition as doublures, paper label to spine, red coated endpapers, top edge gilt, others uncut. Engraved bookplate of Louise Steele Young on front free endpaper. Minimal fading to spine, tiny chip to cloth on top edge of rear board, otherwise a very fine copy.
This is the first illustrated edition of this classic work and a highpoint in any Charles Robinson collection. Robinson was entrusted with designing the layout and presentation. Proof of the care that went into the quality of the book production is that twenty-three of the larger illustrations (of 27) and eight of the smaller illustrations (of 148) are initialed by Carl Hentschel who was Aubrey Beardsley's favorite engraver.
The binding has proved a mystery to some, but the answer is simple, this edition is bound in exactly the same format as the Edinburgh Edition or Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson announced in 1894 to be published in 20 volumes (but ultimately expanded to 28 volumes including the complimentary appendix). Volume one appeared in November 1894 - the last volume appeared in June 1898.
Charles Robinson (1870-1937) was born into a family of illustrators - his younger brother was William Heath Robinson and his older brother was Thomas Heath Robinson - and rose to become one of the most fashionable book-illustrators of his era. At age twenty-five he illustrated his first full book, A Child's Garden of Verses, with over 100 images. These illustrations for Stevenson's most endearing and popular book bear the influence of the Art Nouveau style, of his brother, W. Heath Robinson, Aubrey Beardsley, and , particularly, Walter Crane.
Walter "Crane's Cantor Lectures on Decorative Illustration, given before the Society of Arts in 1889, were first published in book form in 1896, although Robinson was familiar with Crane's ideas when he illustrated and designed a Child's Garden of Verses.
"The book was to be seen as an integrated whole and, as such, it was wrong to ignore the relationship of the binding material, cover design, end-papers, and other 'preliminary' elements to one another and the rest of the book, as it was thoughtless to arrange illustrations without considering the format of the book or the typeface with which they would be printed...Robinson...undoubtedly endorsed [Crane's] suggestions that, in any illustrated book, the preliminary material...should be suggestive of what was in store, secretive and a little playful, so that the reader was to pass on with bated breath until his initial excitement was complete with the splendour of a beautifully designed title-page" (de Freitas, Charles Robinson, p. 16).
De Freitas, p. 83.