“MY OWN FAVORITE AMONGST MY LITTLE BOOKS”: THE TAILOR OF GLOUCESTER, ONE OF ONLY 500 PRIVATELY PRINTED COPIES, WONDERFUL PRESENTATION-ASSOCIATION COPY INSCRIBED BY POTTER TO A CLOSE AMERICAN FRIEND DURING HER VISIT
POTTER, Beatrix. The Tailor of Gloucester. London: Privately printed for the author, December, 1902. 12mo, original pictorial pink boards. Housed in a custom chemise and half morocco slipcase.
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. A wonderful association copy, with a gift inscription to a long-time friend: “For Marian Frazer Harris Perry from ‘Beatrix Potter’ (Mrs. W. Heelis) in remembrance of her visit to Sawrey, Ambleside, Ap. 10th, 1929.” Rare and desirable.
Inspired by a real-life incident involving a tailor’s efforts 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). Quinby 3. Linder, 420. Inscribed by Potter to her long-time friend Marian Perry. “Mrs. Perry was the daughter of a wealthy industrial entrepreneur from Philadelphia, a business associate of the financier, J.P. Morgan. She had lived a sedate Victorian life of wealth and ease punctuated by an interest in literature, art and continental travel… Of all the Americans Beatrix met and befriended, Marian Perry was the closest to her in upbringing, experience and personality” (Lear, 340). Perry and Potter exchanged letters beginning in 1927, following the death of Perry’s husband (the Reverend James DeWolfe Perry of Calvary Episcopal Church in Philadelphia) and Perry’s purchase of some of Potter’s drawings. “When the two women finallly met in April 1929 Beatrix was not disappointed. Her new American friend was a thorough Anglophile… Marian left Beatrix with the same sense that she had of her earlier New England visitors: that ‘they had more understanding and appreciation for old English traditions than the bulk of English people have” (Lear, 340).
Plates clean. Text with scattered light foxing. Light toning to spine, slight wear to spine ends, faint soiling to boards. A lovely and desirable inscribed presentation-association copy of one of the rarest Beatrix Potter titles, in near-fine condition.