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The Fairy Books:

The Fairy Books:

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The Fairy Books: [Blue; Red; Green; Yellow; Pink; Grey; Violet; Crimson; Brown; Orange; Olive; Lilac.]

by LANG, Andrew (ed.)

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  • Hardcover
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About This Item

London: Longmans, Green & Co.,, 1889-1910. A landmark in the presentation of traditional tales First editions, first impressions, a complete set of Lang's beautifully produced Fairy Book series, which is uncommon complete in collectible condition. Unprecedented in the international scope of its sources, it gave many fairy tales their first appearance in English. The books proved immediately successful and helped salvage some of the cultural wealth of international folklore by preserving it in print. Though it is Andrew Lang's name which appears as the author of the fairy books, they were largely the result of the work of others, most crucially female translators such as his wife, Leonora (1851-1933), and authors such as May Kendall and Margaret Hunt, both of whom also published fairy tale collections in their own name. Lang takes the opportunity in the final book's preface to credit his wife with their authorship once again: "The fairy books have been almost wholly the work of Mrs. Lang, who has translated and adapted them from the French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, and other languages" (p. vii). The success of the series also owes much "to the devoted work of their illustrator", Henry Justice Ford (1860-1941), who "provided a benchmark in fantasy illustration" (Grolier). An extremely prolific artist, Ford began exhibiting his paintings at the Royal Academy of Art in 1892. It was his work as book illustrator, however, that gained him worldwide fame in the 1880s and 1890s. Ford "concentrated on legends and folklore as subjects to illustrate and mixed carefully observed objects from the real world with fantasy creatures from an imaginary world in a very convincing way. His penwork is assured and clear and placed on the page with great decorative effect... A whole generation of Edwardians grew up on Ford's illustrations to Andrew Lang's Fairy tales" (Houfe, p. 140). 12 works, octavo. Original cloth in various colours, spines and front covers lettered and decorated in gilt, the first 7 volumes with coloured endpapers, Crimson and Olive with patterned endpapers, edges gilt. Frontispieces, 6 in colour, 182 plates, 40 colour plates, title vignettes, numerous illustrations to text, all by Henry Justice Ford, Lancelot Speed, and George Percy Jacomb Hood. First leaves of several volumes variously with booksellers's tickets, contemporary ownership and gift inscriptions, and bookplate of Mrs Sabine Mayne (1841-c.1931). A couple of spines gently cocked and faded, gilt to covers noticeably bright across set, rubbing to front cover of Yellow, ends and corners a little bumped and rubbed, occasional spots of wear, sporadic skinning to endpapers, inner hinges starting but holding, gauze visible in Olive, contents clean. An attractive set in very good condition. Grolier, Children's 100, 51. Simon Houfe, Dictionary of 19th Century Book Illustrators, 1998.


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Peter Harrington GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
The Fairy Books:
LANG, Andrew (ed.)
Book Condition
Place of Publication
London: Longmans, Green & Co.,
Date Published
May be a multi-volume set and require additional postage.

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Peter Harrington

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About the Seller

Peter Harrington

Seller rating:
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Biblio member since 2006
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About Peter Harrington

Since its establishment, Peter Harrington has specialised in sourcing, selling and buying the finest quality original first editions, signed, rare and antiquarian books, fine bindings and library sets. Peter Harrington first began selling rare books from the Chelsea Antiques Market on London's King's Road. For the past twenty years the business has been run by Pom Harrington, Peter's son.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Refers to a state where the spine of a book is lightly "twisted" in such a way that the front and rear boards of a book do not...
Very generally, "leaves" refers to the pages of a book, as in the common phrase, "loose-leaf pages." A leaf is a single sheet...
The collective of the top, fore and bottom edges of the text block of the book, being that part of the edges of the pages of a...
Highly sought after by some collectors, a book plate is an inscribed or decorative device that identifies the owner, or former...
The decorative application of gold or gold coloring to a portion of a book on the spine, edges of the text block, or an inlay in...
Another of the terms referring to page or book size, octavo refers to a standard printer's sheet folded four times, producing...
"Cloth-bound" generally refers to a hardcover book with cloth covering the outside of the book covers. The cloth is stretched...
Abrasion or wear to the surface. Usually used in reference to a book's boards or dust-jacket.

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