IN JOSEPH CRAWHALL’S “PECULIAR AND INIMITABLE STYLE”
CRAWHALL, Joseph. Olde Frendes Wyth Newe Faces. London: Field & Tuer, 1883. Large quarto, original printed gray paper boards rebacked and hand-lettered in period-style three-quarter tan paper, new endpapers. $750.
First edition of this collection of English and Scottish folk tales and ballads, illustrated and hand-colored in chapbook style by Joseph Crawhall.
Newcastle rope maker, mayor and champion of the arts Joseph Crawhall produced chapbooks at his leisure, for his own enjoyment. For the most part, Crawhall “took his inspiration from folk tales and ballads, emulated older wood cuts from chapbooks, [and] adopted quaint spelling,… mischievously infusing his vignettes with his own blithe humor” (Melanie Wood). “The result is a unique kind of production, part archaism, part bibliomania and part wit” (Houfe, 104). Crawhall’s woodcuts, “in spite of their humble ballad and chapbook derivation, ultimately go back to the broad, free brush drawings of medieval manuscripts and unsophisticated woodcut copies” (Hodnett, 148). Olde Frendes is a “quaint quarto with many hundreds of hand-colored cuts in his own peculiar and inimitable style” (University of Wisconsin). Crawhall was a close friend of Charles Keene, illustrator of Punch, and the two artists worked together for over 200 drawings for the magazine. His work chiefly influenced Nicholson, Craig and Fraser. Signed on the title page by the Duchess of Cleveland and with her bookplate.
Interior fine. Moderate soiling to original boards. A near-fine copy.