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ADAMS, Richard.

Watership Down.

Illustrated by John Lawrence.

Harmondsworth: The Paradine Press, 1976 Stock Code: 134691
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Signed by author and illustrator, with fore-edge painting and original illustration

First illustrated edition, signed limited issue, number 244 of 250 specially bound copies signed by both the author and illustrator. This copy has an original watercolour depicting four rabbits, drawn and initialled by the illustrator, to the front free endpaper verso and first blank; it also has a contemporary fore-edge painting depicting two rabbits executed by the pre-eminent fore-edge artist Don Noble. Although copies of the edition often come with original drawings, this is the first copy we have handled with a fore-edge painting. Lawrence's original watercolour is also notable for running across two pages, normally limited to one.

Adams's first novel, Watership Down was initially turned down by the major publishing houses, before publication by Rex Collings in 1972, and it was quickly established as a major work of British post-war literature. Sales exceeded 100,000 copies in the first year, and Adams was awarded both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award for children's fiction. The novel was adapted into an animated film in 1978, and two animated television series, the first running from 1999 to 2001, the second airing in 2018.

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Large octavo. Original dark green crushed morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, raised bands forming compartments to spine, titles direct to second and third in gilt, fleurons to first and fifth and rabbit motifs to fourth and sixth in gilt, rabbit vignette to front cover in gilt, edges and turn-ins gilt, green and yellow endbands, marbled endpapers. In the marbled slipcase as issued.


Original watercolour to the front free endpaper verso and first blank, and colour fore-edge painting. Colour frontispiece, numerous illustrations to the text in colour and black and white, folding colour map tipped-in at rear.


Spine faintly sunned, very minor central crease to first 12 leaves. A near-fine copy.


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