EXCEEDINGLY RARE TRUE FIRST EDITION OF THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER, ONE OF ONLY 500 PRIVATELY PRINTED COPIES, INSCRIBED BY BEATRIX POTTER TO A TENANT, MRS. MURRAY MACGREGOR
POTTER, Beatrix. The Tailor of Gloucester. London: Privately printed by Strangeways & Sons, December, 1902. 12mo, original pictorial light pink boards. Housed in custom cloth chemise and half morocco clamshell box. $32,000.
True first edition, one of only 500 privately printed copies of Potter’s second book, which she called “my own favorite amongst my little books,” with frontispiece and 15 illustrations in color, three of which do not appear in the first trade edition of October, 1903, inscribed just a month after publication to a tenant in her rental cottage: “For Miss Murray MacGregor from Beatrix Potter. Jan. 16th 03.”
Inspired by a real-life incident involving a tailor's pressure to finish a waistcoat for the new mayor of Gloucester, this book "was Potter's own favorite of all her stories, and one can see why, for in it she indulges her own fascination with the era of her grandparents and great-grandparents… Fairy tale, nursery rhyme and Arcadian fantasy all come together for a moment in perfect balance. No wonder Beatrix Potter was proud of the book" (Carpenter, 148). "Evidently with some regret, Beatrix Potter [deleted from the first trade edition] eight or nine pages of text [which appear in this edition] where she had described in detail how Simpkin wandered through the streets of Gloucester on the night of Christmas Eve, when all the animals were talking and the carol singers were singing. This is the part of the story which contained the majority of her rhymes and verses" (Linder 117). This copy is inscribed to Miss Murray MacGregor, who had a last name similar to that of Mr. McGregor, the gardener in Peter Rabbit. Miss MacGregor was a tenant of the Potters, having leased the cottage in which Beatrix wrote Peter Rabbit. Gift inscription below Potter's inscription dated 1911.
Only a few small spots of soiling to interior, minor soiling and very light wear to fragile paper boards. An extremely good, inscribed copy of one of Potter's rarest editions, especially desirable with a personal association.