"ONCE UPON A TIME…": HANDSOMELY BOUND FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF GRIMMS' FAIRY TALES, THE MOST POPULAR COLLECTION OF TALES EVER PUBLISHED, ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK
GRIMM, Jacob and Wilhelm. (CRUIKSHANK, George, illustrator) . German Popular Stories, Translated from the Kinder und Haus Marchen, Collected by M.M. Grimm, from Oral Tradition. London: C. Baldwyn (Richard Taylor), 1823; James Robins (Taylor), 1826. Two volumes. 12mo, early 20th-century full brown morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $22,000.
First editions in English (first issue of Volume I; first printing of Volume II) of Grimms' famous fairy tales, including "Snow White," "Cinderella" and "Sleeping Beauty," illustrated with two engraved title pages and 20 full-page etchings by George Cruikshank ("perhaps his best work"), handsomely bound in full morocco by Bayntun-Riviere.
As early as 1805, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm began collecting German popular tales. They published the first and second volumes of Kinder- und Hausmärchen in 1812 and 1814. Its publication brought immediate and worldwide fame to the brothers Grimm and provided the foundation for their influential and groundbreaking studies in German philology and grammar (See PMM 281). "Their great insight and artistry in editing and refining the material made the tales second only to the Bible in German readership" (Zipes, 208). The 1823 edition in English of German Popular Stories was the "first anywhere to be fully illustrated" as well as the first to truly target children (Darton, 216). Moreover, the English translation by Edgar Taylor (and his relatives) "revolutionized the conventional English attitude to fairy tales and rehabilitated fantasy as generally acceptable reading-matter for the young" (Carpenter & Prichard, 230).
"The Cruikshank illustrations, which the Grimms themselves admired, remain inextricably associated with the tales" and are considered among his best works (Carpenter & Prichard, 230). They have been called "the first real, kindly agreeable, and infinitely amusing and charming illustrations for a child's book in England" (Charles Welsh). "If you ever happen to meet with the two volumes of Grimm's German Stories," John Ruskin once advised, "which were illustrated by Cruikshank long ago, pounce on them instantly; the etchings in them are the finest things, next to Rembrandt's, that, as far as I know, have been done since etching was invented." Among other famous Grimm tales, these volumes contain "Rumpel-Stilts-Kin," "Snow-Drop" (Snow White), "Rose-Bud" (Sleeping Beauty), "Tom Thumb," "Hansel and Gretel," "The Golden Goose," "The Frog-Prince" and "Ashputtel" (Cinderella). First state of the engraved title page of Volume I, without the umlaut in the word Märchen ("later issues of the first edition of Volume I had the umlauts inserted"— Quayle, 38). Plates in Volume I printed in sepia, as often found. With engraved title pages; bound without Volume II half title, Volume I blanks, and publisher's advertisements in either volume. Cohn 369. Les Livres de l'Enfance 2835. Morgan Library 122. Ray 112. See Osborne, 599.
A very few marginal smudges; minor offsetting from plates to text. A handsomely bound, about-fine copy of this splendidly illustrated classic.