First edition, first impression, second issue with the Parton Press advertisement tipped-in between the half-title and title. Presentation copy of the author’s first book, inscribed by Thomas on the front free endpaper, “To Nora from Dylan, March 1938”. The recipient was Nora Summers (1892–1948), an artist and the lover of Yvonne Macnamara, Thomas’s mother-in-law. Nora had studied at the Bristol School of Art and then the Slade in London, and married fellow artist Gerald Summers in 1912. In 1914 she became close to the family of painter Augustus John, and through him Yvonne and the Macnamara children, with whom she and Gerald lived communally for a few years. Yvonne and Nora’s relationship was intense, and Caitlin later remembered Nora as “the father figure of our girlhood and an evil one”, but the two fiery women did see eye-to-eye about art, with Caitlin acting as a model for Nora’s burgeoning photographic hobby. Nora also enjoyed entertaining the young artistic friends of the Macnamaras, including Dylan Thomas, and she took a number of now-iconic photographs of the poet, including the image of Thomas smoking, and the photograph of the poet and his wife at Brown’s Hotel in 1938. 18 poems was Thomas’s first book, published in an edition of only 500 copies shortly after his 20th birthday, with 250 sets of sheets bound and sold a year after the first issue. Both issues are rare today, particularly so in the dust jacket and with presentation inscription. An excellent association.
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Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. Housed in a black morocco backed folding case. Faint spotting to free endpapers. An excellent copy in the jacket with some light spotting, minor nicks at the ends of the toned spine panel, and marks to the lower panel.