London: Joseph Cundall, 1844.
Berghem, Durer, Everdingen, Hondius, A. Karl du Jardin, Le Ducq, Paul Potter, Fraser Redgrave, Rembrandt, Stoop, Tempesta, Teniers, Vandervelde.
First edition, uncommon. An attractive illustrated alphabet, with a charming image of a Kangaroo. Among the other plates are etchings after Rembrandt and Albrecht Durer. [Percy Muir, English Children’s Books, p. 180.]
Handsome chapter initials decorate the accompanying text which is enchantingly written. ‘Fox. Look at this cunning, cruel fellow, making ready to spring among the chickens… But he will be punished tomorrow I think, for I heard uncle Tom order his red coat to be ready for hunting…’
The Kangaroo entry remains the highlight, ‘The Kangaroo is brought from New Holland: we have some in England in the Zoological Gardens. Their Nature is not at all savage.’
Henry Cole, who published this and other children’s books under the pseudonym F.S. (Felix Summerly), was a notable figure of nineteenth-century England. A distinguished civil servant and associate of John Stuart Mill, he was eventually knighted and is credited with producing the first commercial Christmas card. The Home Treasury series, to which the Alphabet belongs, was edited by Cole and aimed to improve upon the standard of children’s books.
Small square octavo, bound in the original blind-stamped green cloth, lettered in gilt, frontispiece and 24 sepia plates, all edges gilt, a little sunned especially to spine, near fine.
Price (AUD): $950.00 other currencies