First trade edition of the first book by one of the giants of the Golden Age of Illustration, and of children's picture books.
"I often think that was the secret of the success of PETER RABBIT; it was written to a child." – Beatrix Potter
Rebellious little Peter was based on one of Potter's own pet rabbits whom she spent hours observing and sketching. Soon she began forming stories around her beloved animals to entertain the children of her former governess, and it was the combination of these two real-life affections that made PETER RABBIT so captivating. However, the path to publication and international success was not simple. Unable to find a publisher in the beginning, Potter published two rounds of private editions for friends and family at her own expense, a total of only 450 copies, before Warne took on the project – after having earlier rejected it. Seeing the charm firsthand of the "quaint little book" she had printed, Warne reconsidered on the conditions that the text be revised to prose (the private editions were in verse) and that Potter create color illustrations instead of the black-and-white images of the private edition. This copy is one of the earliest printings: according to Linder, "There are no recognizable differences between the first three printings." It has the first-state text and earliest endpapers, as well as illustrations removed from later editions like Potter's self-portrait as Mrs. MacGregor holding a rabbit pie on page 14. A gorgeous copy.
Read more: Quinby, Beatrix Potter: A Bibliographical Check List, No. 2; Linder, A History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter; Lane, The Magic Years of Beatrix Potter.
London: Frederick Warne and Co, . 5.5'' x 4''. Original brown paper boards lettered in white with pictorial paste-on of Peter Rabbit on front board. Grey leaf-patterned endpapers. Illustrated by Potter with color illustrations facing each page of text. Page 51 with "wept big tears." 98 pages. Housed in custom quarter brown goatskin clamshell box and brown cloth chemise. Hinges expertly repaired, else a remarkably beautiful copy without any noticeable edgewear and with clean text.
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