SCARCE FIRST EDITION OF THE CLASSIC BLACK BEAUTY: “THE MOST CELEBRATED ANIMAL STORY OF THE 19TH CENTURY”—LOVELY COPY
SEWELL, Anna. Black Beauty: His Grooms and Companions. The Autobiography of a Horse. Translated from the Original Equine. London: Jarrold and Sons, . Octavo, original black- and gilt-stamped pictorial russet cloth. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $15,000.
First edition of one of the most popular animal stories ever written. An exceptional copy.
Sewell "was told in 1871 that she had only 18 months to live; by the end of that year she had begun Black Beauty, her only book, and five years later she was still alive and at work on it." Sewell had great difficulty in finding a publisher and sales at first were slow. "She lived to see the book published, but died a few months later, before she could know of its huge success… Black Beauty was the most celebrated animal story of the 19th century, an account of a horse's experiences at the hands of many owners… The book revived the 'animal biography,' a genre popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries but which had been dormant for half a century" (Carpenter & Prichard, 66, 479). Carter's "C" binding, with small gilt horse's head enclosed within a one-inch circle, looking to the left as virtually always found (Carter, More Binding Variants, 37-38). With publisher's advertisements. Early ink gift inscription. Small bookseller label.
Light soiling to a few leaves particularly pages 20 and 21, very little of the usual foxing, original cloth with only minor rubbing, spine leaning slightly. A near-fine copy, most rare in this condition.