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BALLANTYNE, Robert Michael.

The Coral Island:

A Tale of the Pacific Ocean... With Illustrations by the Author.

Published: London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1858

Stock code: 105863

Price: £2,000

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First Edition, first issue (with frontispiece contiguous with title page, gilt illustrated roundel on front cover and shark-attack plate at p. 76), in the less common rose-pink cloth (copies are more commonly encountered in blue cloth). Ballantyne wrote children’s stories based on his experiences in Canada as a young man in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Company, achieving his greatest literary success with his second book, The Coral Island, and long influencing other writers: William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a modern riposte to Ballantyne’s Victorian castaway idyll. As the plates here show, Ballantyne was also an accomplished draughtsman, who exhibited a number of water-colours at the Royal Scottish Academy.

Octavo. Original decorated rose-pink cloth with blind-stamped borders and roundels and gilt vignette to upper cover and spine, rebacked with the original spine laid down, yellow coated endpapers. Chromolithograph frontispiece, vignette title-page and 6 plates. Marginal dampstaining to first gathering, some foxing, light browning and signs of handling.

Bibliography: Quayle 12a; Sadleir 103.

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