New York: George H. Doran Company, 1925. Item #05190
First Trade Edition of Kay Nielsen’s “Hansel and Gretel”
In the Publisher's Pictorial Box
[NIELSEN, Kay, illustrator]. GRIMM, [Jacob and Wilhelm]. Hansel and Gretel and Other Stories by the Brothers Grimm. Illustrated by Kay Nielsen. New York: George H. Doran Company, [n.d., 1925].
First American trade edition (there was no English trade edition), with a “B” on the copyright page.
Large quarto (11 1/16 x 8 1/2 inches; 280 x 214 mm.). xi, [3, blank], 15-310, [2, blank] pp. Twelve mounted color plates (with descriptive text on the mounts). Ten black and white plates (all plates included in pagination).
Publisher's red cloth. Front cover with gold label pictorially stamped in black and red. Spine decoratively stamped and lettered in gilt. Red and white decorative endpapers. A very fine copy with most of the original glassine wrapper and the original pictorial box (corners expertly repaired). One of the best examples that we have ever seen.
“In an attempt to reinvigorate the market for gift books after the war, Hodder & Stoughton resumed the publishing of Kay Nielsen’s books, though on a more modest scale. In 1924 they published a work that Nielsen had begun in 1912, Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, including sixteen stories illustrated with twelve watercolors. Nielsen returned to London, and in 1925 his final book for Hodder & Stoughton, Hansel and Gretel, appeared with twelve color plates” (Susan E. Meyer, A Treasury of the Great Children’s Book Illustrators, p. 206).
Danish illustrator and designer Kay Nielsen (1886-1957) “was drawn early on to fairy tales and illustrated many volumes for Hodder & Stoughton: In Powder and Crinoline (1913), East of the Sun, West of the Moon (1914), Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales (drawings completed in 1912, but first published in 1924), Hansel and Gretel (1925), and Red Magic (Jonathan Cape, 1930), a collections of fairy tales from around the world. Nielsen’s designs unite strong linearity with delicate colouring…Characterized by a sense of two-dimensional flatness, Nielsen’s objects and people are highly stylized: foxglove blossoms hang in measured asymmetry; princes and princesses stand on improbably long legs; and their garments billow in gravity-defying parabolas. The power of his illustrations lies in his uncanny ability to retrieve a story’s emotional effect on its reader and to recreate it visually in two dimensions” (The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales).