"A PERFECT COMBINATION OF STORY AND PICTURES": RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE MARGERY WILLIAM BIANCO'S BELOVED THE VELVETEEN RABBIT
BIANCO, Margery Williams. The Velveteen Rabbit, Or How Toys Become Real. London: Heinemann (Whitefriars Press), 1922. Tall octavo, original pictorial boards, pictorial endpapers, original dust jacket. $20,500.
First edition, English issue (simultaneous with the American issue) of this beloved children's classic, "one of the first modern picture books, a perfect combination of story and pictures" (Mahony, 234), with seven beautiful color chromolithographs (three double-page) by William Nicholson, this copy blind-stamped "Presentation Copy" on the title page.
"Margery Bianco's first children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit, was written while she was living in England… Her own two children were young and at an age when toys meant much to them. She had vivid memories of the toys she had loved as a child, and this thinking about toys and remembering toys suddenly brought them to life. The Velveteen Rabbit introduced English artist, William Nicholson, to the field of children's books" (Meigs et al., 473). Nicholson's work has been placed "in the front rank among picture-books of this century" (Marcus Crouch). The first English and American editions of The Velveteen Rabbit, both printed by Whitefriars Press in Tonbridge and published simultaneously by Heinemann and Doran, are extremely rare. With colophon that identifies the printer and states that the colored illustrations were done via lithography by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son. Only the first printing of the book occurs with the chromolithographic plates as originally drawn by Nicholson (contemporary reprints were photo-mechanically reduced). See Bader, 25; Silvey, 487.
Book bright and fine, fragile dust jacket with mild toning, soiling and a few tears with loss to a few letters only on spine panel. A very lovely copy. Scarce and desirable.