Melbourne: Melbourne Publishing Company, 1919.
First edition, with beautiful colour plates by the author. Gaze was one of the most prolific authors of books for children in this period, and this fantasy about the adventures of a small girl in a world where she meets people such as the Clerk of the Weather and the South Wind is one of his most popular works.
Coppertop, and its sequel Coppertop Cruises (1920), were marvellous vehicles for Gaze's fine, opalescent-hued watercolours. The plates in these, and his other Australian-published works, 'established him as the most original illustrator of children's books after Ida Rentoul Outhwaite' (Holden, A Golden Age: Visions of Fantasy, p. 82).
Born in New Zealand in 1885, a whimsical artist with outstanding talent, Harold Gaze is one of the more elusive Australasian children's writers and illustrators. We know little with exactitude about his life. After being rejected for active service, Gaze reputedly studied at various art schools in London for a period before publishing his first (recorded) book illustrations in New York in 1917: I Wish I Could Fly by Rose Strong Hubbell. At the close of World War I, Gaze moved to Melbourne and launched his career with The Wicked Winkapong in 1918.
In 1927, commercial publishing success in the United States led Gaze to settle in Pasadena where he continued his dual career as a munitions expert, either remaining here until his death in 1962 or returning to England in 1959 and settling in Hampstead for his final years, dying in 1963. Solo shows of his fantasy paintings in Los Angeles earned him the appellation of ‘The Bubble Man’. It is said that Gaze worked with the Disney studios on Fantasia. Work by Harold Gaze is held in the National Museum of American Illustration, the Pasadena Museum of History, and the San Diego Museum of Art, among others.
Octavo, colour frontispiece and six colour plates; in the original boards with oval colour portrait onlay; the unusual dustjacket (cut to show the portrait on the front board). Previous owner's inscription, some foxing throughout not affecting plates, all plates clear and bright.
Price (AUD): $400.00 other currencies