[Comprising:] Hop-O'My-Thumb and the Seven-League Boots; The History of Jack & the Bean-Stalk; Cinderella and the Glass Slipper; Puss in Boots.London : [1853-54] Stock Code: 138092
NotesA lovely set of first editions, in the original wrappers, with the following issue points:
1. Hop-O'My-Thumb with two out of three points: with the rear wrapper reading "Preparing for Publication", and the rear free endpaper pasted to rear wrapper.
2. The History of Jack & the Bean-Stalk with two of the five points: the "Jack climbing the Bean-Stalk" frontispiece, and the plates on white paper.
3. Cinderella and the Glass Slipper with two of the three points: the plate list after the printed title, and the rear wrapper with "I. Hop o' My Thumb... II. Jack and the Beanstalk".
4. Puss in Boots with two of the four points: no front fly-leaf, and no plate list.
Although Cruikshank's illustrations for the first English translation of Grimm's Fairy Tales received a great deal of praise, this foray into the world of children's fantasy proved less successful. Many, including Charles Dickens, criticised the artist for the Temperance-inspired slant he put on these traditional stories. In Cinderella, for instance, the court prepares for the ball by setting fire to its entire reserve of alcohol. It was alterations such as this that prompted Dickens to write and publish a satirical attack on Cruikshank entitled "Frauds on the Fairies", in Household Words magazine in 1853. Cruikshank's fine woodcut illustrations failed to gain him support and Dickens's view prevailed, crushing one of Cruikshank's last hopes for public acclaim, an offence that would not be forgiven: "when Dickens died in June 1870, Cruikshank pronounced, 'One of our greatest enemies gone' (TLS, 2 May 1935, 288)" (ODNB).
4 volumes, small quarto. Original blue printed wrappers, titles and pictorial designs printed in black to front wrappers. Housed in custom late 19th-/early 20th-century red morocco case with titles in gilt direct to spine.
Each with etched frontispiece and 5 similar plates by Cruikshank, publisher's advertisements to rear wrappers.
Extremities somewhat darkened and rubbed, Puss in Boots: some wear and chipping to spine, edges a little creased; Jack & the Bean-Stalk: endpapers renewed, else remarkably well-preserved and without ownership marks. A very good set indeed.
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