High Street.London: Country Life Ltd, 1938 Stock Code: 147590
First edition, first impression. Published in an edition thought to be of 2,000 copies, High Street was never reprinted, as the original lithograph stones were destroyed during the Blitz when the Curwen Press premises in Plaistow, east London, received two direct hits (reported by Message: Belgian Review in 1945, a periodical printed by the press). The Country Life warehouse was also bombed, another victim of which was the original edition of Mervyn Peake's Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor (1939).
Ravilious's beautiful and evocative book "had a long gestation, starting from an idea of Helen Binyon's a contemporary of Ravilious at the Royal College of Art for an alphabet of shops, but also resembling certain of the lithographed 'Père Castor' children's books from Paris that Ravilious collected, such as Faites votre marché, by Natalie Parin, of 1935, which was intended to be instructive as well as decorative. Ravilious deliberately looked for odd shops with special and often Victorian visual appeal" (Alan Powers, Eric Ravilious: Imagined Realities, 2012, p. 22).
Octavo. Original lithographic boards printed in brown, blue and black, spine lettered in black.
Monochrome vignette titlepage, and 24 colour lithograph plates by Ravilious.
Superficial split to paper at joints, spine ends a little chipped, black marker pen to tips and joints, boards otherwise bright, contents clean and crisp, illustrations bright. A very good copy.
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